Ah, the internet. It brings us such pleasure, connects us in so many ways (you’re even using it right now to read this very review) and if we’re being honest it’s almost impossible to imagine the world without it now. Yet it also allows people to prowl around, protected by anonymity, and to meet up with a lot of people that they would never have previously been able to establish contact with. We’ve all heard the horrible tales of youngsters being “groomed” by paedophiles. Trust explores one such scenario and it makes for powerful and uncomfortable viewing at times.
Liana Liberato is Annie, a bright and happy young girl who finds herself drawn more and more to a boy she knows only as Charlie. Charlie understands her unlike anybody else and his internet chat and text messages grow more and more important to her, unbeknownst to her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener). When Annie decides to take her relationship with Charlie further things don’t go well and the repercussions affect the family like tremors from an earthquake.
Trust is an amazing film. It handles a difficult subject in a way that’s thoughtful and thought-provoking without ever feeling overly manipulative or softened around the edges. There are one or two moments that feel like they were included as “movie moments” but they’re few and far between. They also remain quite effective. Oh, and it IS a movie.
I was amazed to see that this was directed by David Schwimmer, who does an excellent job with no sign of a bumpy transition from his previous comedy works. He’s helped by a great script by Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger, delivered by a consistently great cast. All of the characters are fully-formed and feature a real core of truth. Liana Liberato gets put through the wringer and shows every stage that she goes through, be it denial, resentment, etc with real pain wrapping around an essence that you never forget belongs to a young girl. Catherine Keener, Jason Clarke, Viola Davis, Noah Emmerich and the other cast members all do very well but it’s Clive Owen who walks away with the top honours, glowering through every frame with anger and pain that’s all-too-obviously covering up his feelings of inadequacy. Clive Owen has many detractors. I’m not one of them. I think he’s a good actor who can do good work (look at his performance in Closer, for example) but his turn in this movie should, hopefully, win over even his staunchest critics.
Trust looks at an uncomfortable and unpleasant subject and somehow manages to make for rivetting viewing while not really sensationalising everything too much. It’s far superior, in my view, to the overly salacious Megan Is Missing and deserves to be seen for the performances from all involved and the thought-provoking nature of the material.
DIRECTOR: DAVID SCHWIMMER
WRITER: ANDY BELLIN, ROBERT FESTINGER
STARS: LIANA LIBERATO, CLIVE OWEN, CATHERINE KEENER, JASON CLARKE, VIOLA DAVIS, CHRIS HENRY COFFEY, SPENCER CURNUTT, AISLINN DEBUTCH, NOAH EMMERICH
RUNTIME: 106 MINS APPROX