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Liability, The

4/10

Stars: Tim Roth, Jack O’Connell, Talulah Riley, Kierston Wareing, Peter Mullan, Christopher Hatherall, Jack McBride, Jenny Pike, Clive Shaw, Simon Manley

Director: Craig Viveiros

Having conquered American television with the series Lie to Me while still retaining his familiar London accent, Tim Roth returns to Britain to play yet another rogue in this low-budget, low aspiration thriller that basically resembles a competent but unmemorable TV movie and/or a straight-to-DVD movie.

John Wrathall’s competent but not particularly engaging screenplay casts Roth as a not-that-young hitman whose ambition is to retire, while wannabe killer-for-hire 19-year-old Jack O’Connell is only too happy to escape his unpleasant gangster father (Peter Mullan, hamming horribly and seemingly delighted to do so) by driving Roth to his next assignment. Unfortunately, a young woman witnesses them doing their job in Darkest Northumberland…

It’s to director Craig Viveiros’ credit that he manages to flesh out the none-too-inventive cliché filled screenplay by extracting a strong and deceptively laid-back performance from Roth which adds unintended depth to the familiar enough story. O’Connell is adequate and Talulah Riley injects a welcome note of glamour. Not one to remember but blackly comic enough to pass the time on television (providing there are enough ad-breaks) or on DVD with a finger hovering over the fast-forward control.

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour.
82 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 18 May 2013