2.5 out of 10

Release Date: 17th May 2013 

Director: Craig Viveiros (Ghosted)

Cast: Tim Roth, Jack O’Connell, Talulah Riley, Kierston Wareing and Peter Mullan

Writer: John Wrathall


The-Liability1The Liability is a serio-comedy that is probably the sleepiest road movie I’ve ever seen.  It’s a cross between Kill List and Midnight Run without the wit or invention of either.  Tim Roth (PULP FICTION) plays a taciturn (read boring) hit man who is employed by gangster Peter (PETER MULLAN – NEDS)  to train his useless step son, Adam (JACK O’CONNELL – TOWER BLOCK) up in the arts of being a hired killer. So the film sees Roy and Adam drive around aimlessly, periodically taking in a few plot related hits for the latter to screw up. They encounter a sexy girl on a mission, who also plays her part in the subterfuge (TALULAH RILEY – THE BOAT THAT ROCKED).  To be honest, I lost all interest in the background plot and just kept tabs on the cardboard characters. So in fact I only know that Peter is involved with shipping Russian women to the UK for the sex trade and Ms. Riley is a relation of one of the women.

The script is woefully annoying in it’s attempts to make the central odd couple interesting. Tim Roth who is one of the UK’s finest actors just farts around to no avail, neither conveying pathos or anything close to mystery.  Jack O’Connell‘s character is neither stupid nor clever enough to engage us and there are no set pieces to speak of. Peter Mullan is sidelined to the peripheries and Kierston Wareing (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) has about two lines.  Any attempts at quirkiness fall dead in their tracks and the whole exercise comes across as one big shrug which hides behind the fact that it has an excellent group of actors ducking out of doing any hard work.

The director’s last film Ghosted showed a lot of promise. Sadly The Liability is a lazy, solid fart of a movie. A road movie with four punctures called Tim Roth, Jack O’Connell, Peter Mullan and Talulah Riley.  Kierston Wareing is the spare.

2.5 out of 10 – Yet another tired and redundant crime caper. Points are for the scenery.

SEE Joe Pesci II’s review below…


  • Tim Roth: The Hateful 8, Selma, Grace Of Monaco, Mobius, Broken (2013), Arbitrage, Lie To Me (TV), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Funny Games (2007), Youth With Youth, Dark Water (2005), Don’t Come Knocking, Silver City, The Beautiful Country, To Kill a King, The Musketeer, Invincible, Planet Of The Apes (2001), The Million Dollar Hotel, The Legend Of 1900, The War Zone (dir), Liar, Hoodlum, Gridlock’d, Everyone Says I Love You, Four Rooms, Rob Roy, Captives, Little Odessa, Pulp Fiction, Bodies Rest & Motion, Jumpin’ At The Boneyard, Reservoir Dogs, Rosencrantz & Guilderstern Are Dead, Vincent & Theo, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, To Kill a Priest, The Hit, Meantime, Made In Britain
  • Jack O’Connell: Tulip Fever, Unbroken, ’71, Starred Up, 300 – part II, Private PeacefulTower BlockWeekender, Harry Brown, Eden Lake, This Is England, Skins (TV)
  • Talulah Riley: Scottish Mussel, The Bad Education Movie, The Knot, St. Trinians 2, The Boat That Rocked, St. Trinians
  • Kierston Wareing: Eastenders (TV),Fall Of The Essex BoysLove BiteTwenty8KBonded By BloodThe HoldingFour, Fish Tank, Rise Of The Foot soldier
  • Peter Mullan: Jungle Book – Origins, Hector, Sunset Song, Hercules (2014), Sunshine On Leith, Welcome To The Punch, The Man Inside (2012), War Horse, TyrannosaurNeds, True North, Children Of Men, Criminal (2004), The Magdalene Sisters (dir), On a Clear Day, Young Adam, The Claim (2000), Orphans (dir), Miss Julie, My Name Is Joe, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Riff Raff

One thought on “THE LIABILITY

  1. THE LIABILITY by Joe Pesci II

    Now, I’ve not seen Tim Roth for a very long time. Not since mid 90s stuff like EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU and FOUR ROOMS. Sure, I’ve seen bits of films here and there, and I’ve still got GRIDLOCK’D on videotape but it’s been a while. And although I’d been warned that THE LIABILITY might not be the greatest film ever made, it was, at the very least, nice to get reacquainted with the old chap.

    That’s as far as it goes.

    Now there are, if you like, two plots going on. There’s a background plot involving a serial killer who’s going around lopping his victim’s hands off. Meanwhile, likely lad Jack O’Connell is a bit of a wastrel whose stepdad decides to teach him a lesson for smashing up his car (or is there more to it than that? Of course there is.) So O’Connell gets a job as driver to Tim Roth. The irony (O’Connell crashing a car then getting a job as a driver) is lost on everyone. Anyway, Roth isn’t very talkative and O’Connell soon works out that he’s an assassin. This revelation comes as no surprise to O’Connell who is soon eagerly wanting to involve himself in the business. I suppose it’s because he’s such a cool cheeky chappie that he’s able to take it in his stride just as you or I would take someone saying ‘I’m a bus driver’ in our stride. Anyway, off they go to do some assassinating but it all goes wrong! For reasons never explained, Roth is having to emulate the actions of the hands-off killer. But he isn’t the killer. I don’t think. Or he might be. I don’t know. But what do you know, just as they’re hacking the hands off (and don’t worry, it turns out that they’re hacking the hands off a bad foreign person), they are interrupted by Tallulah Riley, who just happens to be backpacking in the area. (Or is there more to it than that? Of course there is.) Shenanigans ensue, involving blackmail and mobile phones and diners and an attempt to bring Edward Hopper to cinematic life, and torture and sex trafficking and double-crossing and betrayal.

    I may have oversold this movie. In truth it’s quite dull. I think it’s aiming for profoundly world-weary, but only gets as far as mildly bored. Also, it’s one of those films which attempts to paint the professional assassin in romantic hues: as some sort of lone figure the rest of us can only imagine, all that sort of nonsense. (There’s even the ludicrous meta-textual idea of THE LIABILITY being a spiritual heir to the equally dull THE HIT which had a comparable set-up featuring Roth and John Hurt.) The film also doesn’t know whether it’s a bleak, dark drama, or some sort of black comedy. It tries to be both, but this doesn’t work, partly because the dialogue isn’t strong enough, but also because the situation is baffling. I’m usually quite good at following plots, but from what I can work out… actually I can’t work it out. Here’s some abuse aimed at the actors instead.

    Peter Mullan should sack his agent, or else sink the fee he got into his next gritty directorial effort before anybody demands a refund for the non-performance he turns in. It’s not entirely his fault, but he could have said ‘no, I’m not going near that even if you give me a free bargepole.’ He’s angry and nasty and definitely untrustworthy, so it’s no surprise when the twist comes.

    Kierston Wareing should sack her agent – she only has five lines and our ‘hero’ (who happens to be her son) doesn’t even bother to see if she’s, you know, dead or alive at the end.

    Tim Roth should shoot his agent, and stop messing about as an ‘executive producer’. He’s really good and natural and wipes the floor with his co-star, but was it worth the bother?

    Tallulah Riley should sack her agent. I mean, she doesn’t get much more dialogue than Wareing, but at least she gets to do stuff like drive a car and shoot someone. Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the age old necessity of stripping women to their underwear in order to torture them (in movies I mean). Here, she has to strip to her underwear in order to carry out the torture. This is an odd development over which I shall draw a veil.

    Jack O’Connell should kiss his agent and hand over significantly more than the usual 10%. I’m sure Mr O’Connell is going to be a big star, he’s a very cheeky chappie and I can see him following several possible career paths: game show host, ITV leading man, someone doing something on Channel 4. As an actor I have now seen him in WEEKENDER, TOWER BLOCK and this. His performances are always desperately irritating, but he’s got the same cheeky chappie twinkle which works so well for Ant and Dec, but if he really wants to follow this acting malarkey through, it would be nice to se him play someone who isn’t a cheeky chappie bad boy. He doesn’t seem to be blessed with much talent, but he’s got the right talents to go far, which is ironic because it’s precisely those talents which largely hobble the film. It’s not entirely his fault, the premise and the plot are flawed as well, but it’s impossible to take the film seriously with him gurning his way through.

    But THE LIABILITY’s liability is that it’s a bunch of things which don’t cohere. The odd couple approach could’ve worked, but it’s the wrong odd couple. Black comedies involving hitmen have been done to death, introducing a serial killer element doesn’t help. Trying to add grit through sex trafficking is nothing more than window dressing. And driving anywhere in Britain is just boring. And I haven’t even got round to the Cuban sub-plot and the band in the back of the van. Please avoid.

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