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The Liability Review

by Chris Wharfe

The Liability

Director: Craig Viveiros.

Starring: Tim Roth, Peter Mullan, Jack O’Connell, Talulah Riley.

Running Time: 82 minutes.

Certificate: 15.

Synopsis: Adam (Jack O’Connell), 19, agrees to do a day’s driving for his mum’s gangster boyfriend and is soon pulled into a world of deceit, violence, murder and sex trafficking. Who knew being Tim Roth’s chauffeur was so demanding?

This cat-and-mouse British thriller manages to separate itself from the pack just long enough to entertain, largely thanks to its principal cast and dry script. Jack O’Connell heads up proceedings as typical lout and layabout Adam, who, after smashing up his mum’s boyfriend’s car, agrees to a driving job to make amends. Unluckily for him, said mum’s boyfriend is actually a gangster who sends Adam to drive for ageing assassin Roy (Tim Roth).

Craig Viveiros treads a fine line between light humour and serious drama in his second feature film as director, and it just about works. O’Connell grates at first – though that’s mostly due to the script and the interpretation of the character – but as the film goes on, things start to improve with some surprisingly effective character developments.

The relationship between Roth and O’Connell in particular is a highlight, with plenty of chemistry providing most of the humour. Talulah Riley makes an appearance as an apparently innocent bystander who gets caught up in proceedings, and, dodgy accent aside, manages to put in a fairly convincing performance.

Viveiros leaves his own stamp on the film. Removing himself from the usual British crime thrillers that try to emulate the success of the likes of SNATCH and other Guy Ritchie efforts, he grounds his film in a more realistic, linear world with alternative and interesting character and actor choices. Roth in particular, whose recent work includes the sublime BROKEN, does anything but rest on his laurels, giving another astute performance.

While the finale is a little drawn out and the narrative meanders around the middle act, THE LIABILITY offers just the right balance of humour and thrills to keep us entertained for the duration.

3 Stars

THE LIABILITY is released in UK cinemas today.

 

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