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Saturday, July 23, 2011

313. Trust

    It's time to own up. I have seriously underestimated David Schwimmer.
    My family were huge fans of Friends but Schwimmer, despite being pleasant enough, was always overshadowed by Matthew Perry and Matt Le Blanc.
    Ross was always the least funny friend. I really didn't see why Rachel was so besotted.
    I don't know why it passed me by that Schwimmer directed a number of episodes between 1999 and 2004.
    Certainly, I was aware that he was behind Simon Pegg's Run Fat Boy Run a while back but that hardly made me think that a great director was lurking.
    Trust is different. This could not be more removed from comedy. In fact, it's subject is so hard it made me genuinely queasy.
    But its direction and acting are absolutely top drawer. If a movie about paedophilia can possibly be labelled terrific this can.
    There is a danger with Trust that it could be perceived as being exploitative. In other words, will the perverts it is aiming to decry actually get a kick out of it?
    I wouldn't know.
    That is less, important, however than the frighteningly powerful message it sends out to normal decent teenagers and their parents.
    So what's the story?
    It's simple. An upper-middle class family is ripped apart when it is discovered that their 14-year-old (Liana Liberato) has been abused by a 35-year-old man who has groomed her on the net.
    She, however, doesn't believe she is a victim of crime because she has 'fallen in love' with her predator.
    Liberato's portrayal is one of the most memorable of any child this year. Easily up there with Hailee Steinfeld's magnificent performance in True Grit.
    I do worry, however, that the subject matter was so harrowing that she might need counselling herself.
    Clive Owen was the interesting choice as her dad. The explanation of him being an Englishman in an American family does distract slightly but, after a while, it became clear why he was chosen - because he is stunningly good.
    His character's relationship with his daughter becomes impossible because he, straightforwardly, wants to go in pursuit of her attacker and, as he says, 'rip his head off.'
    I can't remember Owen in a more emotional role. His character disintegrates before the audiences eyes.
    It is a genuine tragedy that Trust has bombed so badly. In the US, it took less than $60,000 in its first weekend against a budget of $9million.
    In this country, the multiplexes shunned it. Largely, I suspect, because it was released in the middle of summer blockbuster season.
    And yet, despite it being very uncomfortable viewing, it is a very good piece of work.
    Schwimmer's direction promises great things. The way he focuses so tightly in on his subjects at times of stress has haunted me and the manner in which the grim motel scene was handled will stick long in the mind.
    To any right-minded person, there was no titilation here - just revulsion.
    And the ending was perfect for reasons I won't explain for fear of spoiling.
    I'm giving it 8.5/10 and am really looking forward to Schwimmer's next outing as director.
    PS I watched it at Derby Quad, as part of my Friday double bill.

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313. Trust

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