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Trust

Trust

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BY HIS own admission, Trust was not an easy film for its director, David Schwimmer, to make. It’s not an easy film to watch, either, although it remains never less than commendable for what it tries to – and succeeds in – achieving.

A labour of love that stems from his decade-long involvement with Santa Monica’s Rape Treatment Centre, Trust focuses on the all too real problem of Internet predators and the devastating effect their crimes have on families.

The family in question is put to the test when 14-year-old Annie (Liana Liberato) is groomed and then raped by one such predator. Schwimmer’s film follows this ‘grooming’ process, before then exploring the aftermath of the subsequent rape on both Annie and her parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener), while the FBI attempt to hunt the predator down.

It’s gritty and disturbing stuff and one that is sensitively handled by Schwimmer, the director, without pulling its punches physically or emotionally.

It also provides the platform for two great performances: from newcomer Liberato, who is often astonishing in the way she depicts the slow realisation of what has happened to her, and from Owen, whose heartfelt performance as her father goes through the various emotions of anger, guilt, impotence, responsibility and acceptance.

A final scene between Owen and Liberato is particularly affecting, especially in the rawness of the emotions being conveyed.

That’s not to say that Schwimmer’s film is perfect. The screenplay he co-wrote with Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger sometimes tries to over-reach in its desire to address all of the issues surrounding modern society.

Having Owen’s father oversee a new advertising campaign focused upon the teen market and subsequent objectification of young girls, for instance, feels a bit contrived and comes at the expense of the main subject matter and, in particular, Keener’s under-written mother.

While Schwimmer’s own decision to sometimes visually get into the head of Owen’s tormented dad threatens to slip into the deliberately (and unnecessarily) shocking and sordid.

But while there are flaws, Trust offers a sobering and highly disturbing reminder of the dangers posed by technology as faced by every teenager and parent today.

It also packs a genuinely heavy emotional punch that makes it required – if difficult – viewing for cinema-goers of every age. And for that Schwimmer should be highly commended.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: August 29, 2011