Film Review: The Liability

The Liability

The Liability mixes elements of a crime thriller with black comedy. It is not awful, but is not the most enthralling of watches either.

19-year-old Adam agrees to do some work for his mother’s gangster boyfriend Peter. His first task is to do some driving for Peter’s associate Roy. Adam is about to journey into the murky underworld…

The narrative of The Liability feels like the premise for a short film padded out to fill the length of a feature. The initial idea itself is not a bad one. It is where the film goes that is the problem. The twists that the film takes are a bit silly.

The fundamental idea of the two characters on a road trip works fine. Writer John Wrathall sets up an element of mystery from the beginning of the film which functions adequately to pique the viewer’s interest. Even when Roy’s line of work is revealed, The Liability is still suitably entertaining. It is the introduction of Talulah Riley’s character which marks the point when the film begins to descend.

Adam is a suitably amusing protagonist. His persona is a good balance for the droll Roy. However, the tangent of Riley’s character fails to add anything interesting or plausible to the mix. The Liability is strongest in exploring the dynamic of Roy and Adam; the tertiary character should have enhanced this or offered something more. Instead, she appears as cartoonish.

Production values are fine. The Liability features a few violent moments; these are depicted with appropriate gratuity. Tim Roth offers a decent performance as Roy. He has good chemistry with Jack O’Connell’s Adam. Talulah Riley has little room to manoeuvre with her character, but her accent is questionable.

The Liability could have made a great short film, but as a feature it fails to satisfy.