July 5, 2011 1 Comment
Directed by David Schwimmer. Starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato
Whatever you might be expecting from “Friends” star turned-director David Schwimmer, get ready for an unexpected surprise, because this is certainly not it.
Trust is in fact quite a mature and complex drama about an even more mature and complex subject and though it might not be perfect, it certainly deserves a lot of credit and respect not only for tackling such a story, but also (and mostly) for its restrained approach throughout.
The film is not preachy, nor it pretends to have all the answers: it doesn’t offer any solution to an impossible situation and for most of its length, it manages to avoid the obvious clichés from the genre and just when you think you’ve seen it all before and it takes an unexpected and clever turn.
Schwimmer is aware of the complexities of its story and carefully manages to keep his vision very well balanced. He is subtle in his style and in the staging and direction of some truly great performances.
At the centre is the amazing performance by Liana Liberato as Annie, the teenage girl who befriends a stranger online, Charlie, who she thinks he’s about her age. Once the truth comes out (don’t worry, this happens quite early on in the film, so I’m not really giving away anything), and Annie discovers that Charlie is actually a lot older than he used to claimed, she’s first taken aback, but slowly begins to feel more and more attached to him, as she thinks he’s her first love and the only one who really understand her.
Ms Liberato despite her early age seems to have a remarkable understanding for that adolescent naïveté, that awkwardness and innocence that most teenagers seem to have and she portrays Annie to perfection, with all their weaknesses and strengths.
“Trust” is certainly not an easy watch. The scene with Charlie the “predator” in a motel room sitting on a bed next to Annie, is one of the most uncomfortable I’ve seen in quite a while: but like in all the best movies scenes of this kind, the tension is created by what you know and your expectations, not by what you see. And gracefully (and thankfully) Schwimmer shows us just about enough to get the idea across without exploiting the moment.
Schwimmer is actually an activist in the field of rape awareness in real life and his understanding of the complexities of the issue is certainly apparent on the screen.
If you hear David Schwimmer talking about this film you’ll hear him saying that this is really a film “from the point of view of the father”. And undoubtedly Clive Owen takes the center stage at some point in the film (and as always he’s pretty good too), but interestingly those are the parts I thought were probably the least successful in the film, all leading up to that final scene which felt to me a bit forced and actually slightly too melodramatic.
However these are just small points in an otherwise really powerful film, which should actually be a compulsory watch in schools and among teenagers. In reality, in the UK the film is rated 15 and in the US is R rated: which once again shows the usual close-mindedness of classifications on both side of the pond. Hopefully some kids will get to watch it anyway either on DVD or thanks to mature parents.
Oh, and that end credit sequence, which seems almost tagged on as an afterthought, is one of the creepiest thing in the film and leaves you with a really uncomfortable feeling as the credits roll, which I guess is the point of the film. On that respect, it’s a success.