"“There is far more to this title than meets the eye...”"

You could be forgiven of wanting to steer clear of Craig Viveiros' sophomore feature The Liability, as a film that, as far as the marketing is concerned, it's just another generic gritty, British gangster flick. However here lies an example of a film being misrepresented, and completely undersold – as although the publicity campaign appears to be aimed at Nuts magazine readers, there is far more to this title than meets the eye, as a sharp and entertaining piece of cinema.

Jack O'Connell plays Adam, a 19-year-old opportunist who seeks a way out of his torrid life at home with his mother (Kierston Wareing) and his shady and abusive step-father Peter (Peter Mullan). To help repay the Peter money owes, Adam agrees to do a day's work for the sadistic gangster, driving the nonchalant hit-man Roy (Tim Roth) around as he conducts his lewd and disreputable business. Although appearing as a job that is relatively straight-forward on the surface, Adam proceeds to enter into an alarmingly dark and disturbing world – a world which also drags in a seemingly innocent and unnamed bystander (Talulah Riley).

Within a mere matter of moments the Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie influences become apparent, particularly given the “cool” and eclectic range of music selected. However the soundtrack results in a series of memorable scenes, and when music can tie you to a particular moment or sequence, that's when you know it has been intelligently implemented. Viveiros does a fine job in ensuring that the stylistic, grandiloquent approach is crafted without artificial contrivance, which is certainly no simple feat. It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking this is yet another British imitation of the Tarantino-esque neo-noir we have painfully grown so accustomed to over the years, however any such influences remain as being just that - this is a unique picture of its own right.

The esteemed members of the cast certainly do their bit too, ensuring that this film is above your average. low-budget thriller. The script and story is somewhat mediocre, and in the wrong hands could go horribly wrong – yet with the likes of Roth and Mullan on board, you know you are guaranteed top class performances, and they deliver. O'Connell, however, is the star of the piece, playing the charismatic and charming thug of which he has become so renowned for.

When we are introduced to Adam, it's just a short but sweet scene where he recklessly drives a car – evidently having much fun when doing so. It's only a small moment, but a vital nugget of information as it shows off his careless nature, and sense of adventure – making it plausible in the latter stages that he could be quite so tempted and at ease with this somewhat dangerous lifestyle he is entering into. Credit to the young actor too, the crux of this story is that of an ordinary guy getting caught up in a dark, criminal underworld – and O'Connell just has this everyday quality to his demeanour, allowing us to relate to the role, which is just essential.

The Liability follows a somewhat simplistic, conventional narrative, taking a rather straightforward approach, and thriving within such a capacity. Credit must go to Viveiros in that respect, staying well within his means – this feature does not have a huge budget, and as such this film does as well as it can with what it's got – with a modest cast size, and a story that takes place across one night and mostly in just a car. It's even succinct in its running time – falling short of the 90 minute mark. Here is a director to keep your eye on, for sure.