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Review: The Liability

May 14, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

 CU Jack O'Connell (Adam), the doormobile explodes behind him

There’s no law that says camera operators can’t be film directors, but no one was expecting an Academy Award from Craig Viveiros’ The Liability. What has full potential to be a brilliant dark comedy thriller turns out to be another low-budget British weekend flick that we’ll tune into on the telly when there’s nothing better on.

It opens up with Adam (Jack O’Donnell) driving and smoking as all 19-year-old Brits do, crashing his mum’s new boyfriend’s car into a ditch. To make up for the damage, Adam’s forced to work as a chauffeur and gets a first-hand training day in criminal life. Cool concept, but we’ve been there and done that to kingdom come.

Surprisingly enough, Viveiros plays on every overused convention of criminal behaviour, from wanting to get out of the wrecked car to jumping the wires and getting rid of any evidence. “Pay attention to detail” was the lesson of the day, and Jack O’Donnell did a brilliant job playing an innocent kid who’s seen way too many movies and thinks he’s an absolute expert on this gangster stuff. Seeing him try to cut off the hands of an already-deceased man actually made me start crushing on the annoying little boy!

I was again disappointed with how Talulah Riley was introduced as some wild card girl-on-revenge character that drove some conflict to the otherwise mundane criminal day plan. Of course Adam fancies this mystery girl that tries to kill him and it is a no brainer that this girl would have to save the day while he ended up becoming less of a liability and more of a helping hand thanks to his stupidity and luck (if you can even call it that).

But I really have no idea why Tim Roth decided to burden his shining reputation with this amateur flick; maybe playing a washed up hit-man named Rob was just his cup of tea. After all, who doesn’t aspire to be like Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds? Of course it’s nothing like that, but you wouldn’t want to mess with the Rob man. Here’s a tip: Don’t you dare call him by his real name.

Thankfully the movie only stole 95 minutes out of my important life, which is pretty much the breaking point of my brain shutting down. I also got to see Jack O’Donnell’s skinny ribs that made me reluctantly put my bag of popcorn down. Oh, and there was a fun shoot-and-run scene that was almost sexy in the whole Bonnie & Clyde way. Let me emphasise on almost.

CU Tim Roth (Roy)

I foresee a promising career for Craig Viveiros in British soap dramas. That is, if he can let go of his passion for fake blood and car chases. I’m praying after three hits (and misses) he’ll consider filming a new genre and save us all some wasted hours.

Amanda Chen.

The Liability is in cinemas from the 17th May, and on DVD from the 27th.