Trust

Quickcard Review – 46th Chicago International Film Festival

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Trust

Directed by: David Schwimmer
Cast: Liana Liberato, Clive Owen, Viola Davis, Catherine Keener
Running Time: 1 hr 40 min
Rating: R
Release Date: TBD

PLOT:After teenage Annie meets a man on the internet, she is sexually assaulted. Trust deals with her father’s struggle to come to terms with her loss of innocence.

WHO’S IT FOR? Fans of the emotional adult drama, such as In the Bedroom may want to turn in for Schwimmer’s latest project, but with such disturbing material, audiences should be forewarned.

OVERALL

Trust is one of those rare instances where a movie struggles because it has too much to say. Although its intentions are pure, the movie feels aimless at what should be strong emotional turning points. Is Schwimmer suggesting that Annie’s fall from grace is a result of our internet society? Is it trying to make a point about the alienation felt by the modern day teenager? It could be saying all of these things, but Trust never seems to take the time to let the audience know. Even when Trust does try to let its audience know and establish its own voice, it seems somewhat insincere. Everything about including much of the family interaction and particularly the teen speak wreaks of the writing of someone who’s left their wonder years far behind them. However, Schwimmer and the cast should be given credit for addressing an important and difficult to discuss issue that is too frequently a reality in our society. Still, it’s wavering between emotional drama and semi-vengeance flick as Owen channels his inner Liam Neeson as he searches for the man who did this to his daughter. Owen is at his best when he’s allowed to be emotionally vulnerable which, unfortunately, isn’t until about five minutes before the movie is over. When watching Keener, it feels like her character’s neglected. She does what she can with the role, but she isn’t afforded the “daddy’s little girl” card or much of a backstory, so it’s not a whole lot. It would have been interesting to see events unfold from her perspective, but instead, the audience is treated with a fairly one-dimensional portrayal of a father’s anger. Granted, the anger is justified, but with no strong emotional connection to the story, it gets old fast. Still, although Owen may not shine in the piece and Keener is never give the chance to, there are plenty of others that do. Viola Davis’s role as therapist to Annie is a nice escape from her fractured home life. Davis breaks down Annie’s motives and verbalizes them without dumbing it down for the audience. She’s as much a necessity as she is compelling to watch. However, these scenes obviously wouldn’t work half as well without Annie herself, played by Liana Liberata. Liberata is arguably the star of this piece. Her portrayal of innocence lost and isolation is at once heartbreaking, but also removed. It’s difficult to get inside the character’s head, especially never having been a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted, but Liberata makes it accessible when the film calls for it. Otherwise, it’s easy to imagine that she illustrates the kind of conundrum that most fathers face with their daughters. The movie itself suffers, but with Liberata’s performance alone, it’s something worth watching.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

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