Taking the tired cliché of ‘hitman on his last job’ and twisting it into something altogether more refreshing, The Liability proves an entertaining watch.

It’s not a perfect film by any means, and there are undoubted moments of frustration, but compared to much of the drek served up on DVD at the moment this comes as a welcome change of pace.

It’s fair to call it an ensemble piece, as although Tim Roth gets the headline billing (and his mug plastered front and centre all over the sleeve) there are plenty more performances to enjoy.

Things kick off with Jack O’Connell’s Adam trashing a car, and then fessing up to his step-dad.

Trouble is though, his step-dad Peter (Peter Mullan) turns out to be psychopathic gangster, who between beating up chained-up prostitutes enjoys nothing better than to belittle his ‘son’.51-eUAyk+8L__SY300_

In order to pay off the cost of the written-off motor, Adam is asked to be the driver for hitman Roy (Roth) on a job in the north of England.

All seems fairly straightforward, only for what appears at first a hiker (Talulah Riley) stumbling upon Adam and Roy as the latter is carving up his victim.

Turns out though the hiker has far more at stake than it first seems and suddenly we have a chaotic chase across country that involves car-jacking, plenty of cash – oh, and a bag of chopped-up body parts.

Director Craig Viveiros’ effort clearly wants to be quirky, hip, witty and clever – and, at times, it indeed proves to be quirky, hip, witty and clever.

But there is also this nagging feeling that everybody is trying that bit too hard, and a lot of the dialogue comes across as forced.

There are also a whole host of twists and turns along the way, most of which work and ensure that the viewer is constantly kept guessing and off-guard.

Performances wise this is pretty good stuff – Roth provides an air of weariness that his character requires, Mullan is all menace and expletives and Riley handles her role of mystery nicely (even if she does have a dodgy accent).

The problem (for me anyway) stems from O’Connell’s Adam though, as he trots out the same jack-the-lad, annoying chav that he breezed through Eden Lake and Tower Block with.

That worked perfectly fine in those films, but here I am pretty sure you are meant to root for him from the outset – and to be honest that proves pretty difficult.

Having said that, perhaps that was the director’s intention as it is another facet that separates The Liability from the pack.

The film is far from memorable, and you certainly won’t be mulling it over for days afterwards, but safe to say you will certainly enjoy it while it lasts.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.