What? – ‘The Liability’
Who’s in it? – Tim Roth (‘Pulp Fiction’); Talulah Riley (‘Pride and Prejudice’); Jack O’Connell (‘Skins’); Peter Mullan (‘War Horse’)
Director – Craig Viveiros (‘Ghosted’)
Screenplay – John Wrathall (‘Good’)
Synopsis – When 19-year-old Adam agrees to do a day’s driving for his mum’s gangster boyfriend Peter, it takes him on a 24-hour journey into a nightmarish world of murder, sex trafficking and revenge, in the company of aging hit man Roy. (IMDB)
What I thought – The Liability got my attention from the get go. The story makes sense, Adam, played very convincingly by Jack O’Connell, is a typical teenager, maybe not typical, but you can probably find someone like him anywhere in the world, he’s bored, with too much time on his hands, and while taking her Mom’s boyfriend’s Mercedes out, he carelessly crashes it. When the boyfriend Peter, played by Peter Mullan, finds out he decides enough is enough. Oh and I should mention that he is an abusive s.o.b, that uses and humiliates the kid’s mother for self gratification. She seems to have too much time on her hands as well.
While playing darts and coming up with a way to make up for the trashed car, Adam starts looking through Peter’s laptop and comes across some disturbing sexually explicit videos involving tied up girls. He freaks out when he realizes that the man is coming back into the room, but closes the file in the nick of time.
Peter hooks Adam up with an acquaintance called Roy played by Tim Roth. And sends him on a day trip to act as his driver. Adam, is a friendly, carefree young man, so he finds himself at a loss as to how to act around this cold, distant man. The first moments in each other’s company are awkward, the kid trying to make a connection and Roy completely closed to any friendly demonstration.
Roy ends up being a cold blooded professional killer, hence the cold personality. Adam realizes, when peaking at some photos he’s looking at and later finds out he’s driving him to do a job. But the interaction between the two is what makes the movie, it’s a struggle for both, you can almost feel the discomfort.
I saw the word, ‘industrial’ being used to describe this film and I think it belongs perfectly. The feel of the movie is definitely industrial as they drive through the rural parts of Northern England. I felt the movie flowed easily, it is not an action movie in the literal sense of the word, but it’s not slow, not at all.
The scene in which the kid is taught how to dismember the body of the murder victim is quite gruesome, without being gory. Unfortunately, someone is a witness to the crime, a young girl played by Talulah Riley, almost unrecognizable from her role as one of the Bennet sisters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
She plays a Latvian woman who is out for revenge because of a sex trafficking on going operation, yes the video Adam saw in Peter’s computer. She brings the intriguing, feminine twist to the story.
The Liability is an entertaining movie, I liked seeing up and coming British actor Jack O’Connell in his role of Adam, he does it masterfully in my opinion, kind of endearing, clueless and funny. Tim Roth is brilliant as always as the cold blooded killer, who ends up being almost a mentor, in a strange sort of way. The have good moments together.
I also liked the music, that old age Latin mambo, definitely helps to place the time and circumstances of the story. The almost lack of music at other times, make the scenes more powerful, it doesn’t have your typical dramatic score in certain scenes. Very well done.
In sum, I would recommend this movie, and say that it surprised me that it wasn’t picked up to be distributed at the movie theaters in the US. A good British production, with quality casting and strong screenplay. Some lose ends that are not solved, but hey, no movie is perfect.
‘The Liability’ now playing On Demand in the US and available on DVD at Amazon.com