The Liability opens with a murder, followed by a scene in which 19-year-old Adam (Jack O’Connell) survives a car accident. At first there is no link between the two events, but it is later revealed that each character will play a crucial role in each other’s lives.
The film is made up of several subplots which director Craig Viveiros skilfully interweaves in a tension-building atmosphere typical of thrillers, with cliff-hangers, coups de théâtre and dramatic dénouements.
The Liability owes its title to the dangerously intense relationship that the teenager establishes with hit-man Roy (Tim Roth). Adam is at that stage when the thought of entering adulthood is both terrifying and exciting; he is lazy and doesn’t have ambitions, but when challenged, he wants to prove his worth. He lives with his mother, a good-looking, naïve but loving woman; and the rich, selfish man (Peter Mullan) she married, whose occupation is a mystery.
Everything changes when Adam unveils the secret life that his stepfather leads. From then on, Adam sets out on a journey which is both a real road trip and a metaphor for his growth towards taking responsibility by making important, difficult decisions. Each character learns something new about themselves through unexpected, powerful scenes with suddenly changing situations, and through decisive encounters, especially the appearance of a very pretty but cunning femme fatale (Talulah Riley), who brings further trouble Adam’s way.
The Liability is a nicely directed film about revenge, with good cinematography and an interesting musical score wisely matched to the main scenes. The cast, comprising both well-known actors like Roth and Mullan and rising stars O’Connell and Riley, gives a very good performance. The characters are perhaps too stereotypical and should have been developed more. The film may not be memorable, but the plot is convincing enough and never boring or predictable; but reserve your judgment until the grand finale.
The Liability is released nationwide on 25th January 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Liability here: