The Liability (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Judging from the accompanying DVD artwork for The Liability, you might be forgiven for believing the film to be some sort of action thriller with Tim Roth in the lead. The same thought had crossed my mind, but you might like to know that you’d be wrong; Roth is in it, but the focus is not on him, not that there is anything wrong with him; he’s a fine actor, but I am guessing Lionsgate are using this artwork to tap into the Lie To Me audience over here in the States.
Hell, I didn’t even know that The Liability was an English flick. What the film is though, is a grisly, darkly humorous offbeat thriller that was a world above what I thought it might be. It was actually damned good fun, and should have received an accompanying Blu-ray release. Why not give it a Blu/DVD combo pack? Far worse films have received far better treatment.
The plot itself follows Adam, played by Jack (Eden Lake, Harry Brown) O’Connell, who is a bit of a wayward lad. After trashing his mother’s boyfriend’s car, he finds himself in debt to the understandably upset Peter (Peter Mullan) to the tune of 60K. Rather than having to work off the debt, Peter sets him up as a driver for Roy (Tim Roth), a hit-man who doesn’t really want the company.
Roy, nonetheless, takes Adam under his wing and amidst the humorous banter between the two, teaches Adam the art of the hit and body disposal. All very lighthearted stuff, that is until a young girl happens across the pair whilst they are busy working. So begins a twisting tale of betrayal, murder and a whole lot of fun.
I really enjoyed The Liability; it was great fun from start to, almost, the finish. The ending comes along too quickly and gets a bit too manic, especially Mullan, but the journey there was nothing less than good fun. Sure, the humor is dark and it is surprisingly grisly, but the entertaining and witty script keeps the action moving along. I say action loosely, because this is a more talky film than you might expect, although there is more than enough to keep the film motoring along.
Jack O’Connell and Tim Roth play well off each other, with Jack’s portrayal of the cheeky and ultimately clueless Adam, a nice counter to Roth’s stoic and cold hit-man. That being said, there’s a great dry humor to Roth’s character and that shines through in the sharp script. I hadn’t personally heard of director Craig Viveiros, before watching this movie, but I’ll be keeping a look out for whatever he makes in the future.
Production-wise, the film is a well put together affair, although there were one too many songs playing on the soundtrack. I like a good piece of background music, but I don’t see the need to bang out the latest indie or dance track every five minutes. I might be exaggerating there, but it was fairly intrusive. That and the previously mentioned weak ending are the only real downsides to this thoroughly entertaining and surprising thriller.
Included on the DVD, aside from the movie, is not a lot really. There’s a making of, which features interviews from the cast and crew, and a trailer gallery. I honestly think that Lionsgate weren’t totally sure how to market this film, and as such haven’t given it the release it deserves. It’s the film that matters though, and this is one that’s definitely worth giving a chance to. It’s not perfect, but the positives far outweigh the negatives, and any film that stars Tim Roth, Jack O’Connell and Peter Mullan has to be worth your time.
So, once again, ignore the horribly generic artwork and give The Liability a chance, and enjoy the cracking blend of violence and humor.
The Liability is released on DVD by Lionsgate on January 29th.