Arriving not so hard on the heels of Trojan Eddie is this effort, perhaps in the hope that travellers and gypsies will become a new cinematic vogue. But whereas last year's Stephen Rea starrer managed to capture the charm and idiosyncrasies of such communities, Traveller is never really sure about where it's going or what it wants to concentrate on.
When Pat O'Hara (Wahlberg) buries his father in the family plot, he is shunned by the traveller family his dad left behind when he married an outsider. But the family's wise old granny reminds one of the most prominent members of the clan, Bokky (Paxton), that Pat has gypsy blood in him and so deserves a chance. So Bokky takes Pat on the road with him, and teaches him almost all he knows about conning people. Together they get into scrapes, have those macho rows that are essential in cementing any male friendship and eventually plot their biggest scam of all. But the partnership isn't without its problems; Pat becomes increasingly desperate to be accepted by the family's big boss Jack (Luke Askew) and Bokky is taking the dangerous road that Pat's dad took by falling for outsider Jean (Margulies).
The ensuing relationship between Bokky and Jean is well-handled and forms the highpoint of the movie. Both Paxton and Margulies display the uncertainties and nervous role-playing that go with courtship, making a nice diversion from a somewhat plodding plot. The real fault, though, lies with Wahlberg, whose ill-defined role leaves him looking decidedly uncomfortable.
With such strong acting support from Paxton and Margulies, Green could have produced a dynamic drama. But with muddled characterisation, a slight script and an over-the-top ending, it emerges as an ill-conceived attempt to make a thriller out of almost nothing.