Directed by: David Schwimmer
Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato, Viola Davis
Review: We’ve all had moments in our lives where we know that life will never be the same. Good or bad, these moments all too often come to define us. Our interpretations of how our events are perceived by the outside world effects us all greatly, and yet, people’s interpretations are largely out of our control.
There is a chilling moment in ‘Trust’ in which Annie, a young girl who spends lots of time on the computer but is mostly concerned with her status on the high school volleyball team, is going to meet a man she first encountered on the internet. She is giddy and nervous all at the same time. There is a youthful excitement and innocence in her face. She has connected with this person over the internet, and the first face-to-face meeting only brings excitement.
Shortly thereafter, Annie’s life will be irrevocably changed. The man she is going to meet is much older than he told her over the internet. This man is a predator and will eventually end up raping Annie. While this moment is horrible in its own right, it wasn’t the most chilling for me while watching this film.
In dealing with being a rape victim Annie keeps replaying that day over and over in her head. She flashes back to the moment when she is riding the escalator down to the food court to meet this man, excitement clearly displayed on her face. She knows now that her life will never be the same and that was the last moment she ever had as true 14-year-old.
This was an incredibly disturbing image. Seeing it the first time we don’t fully feel the impact. After knowing what happens we realize the weight of this scene. As the victim in this scenario Annie has to deal with knowing that if she had just turned around, she would still have her old life back. If at any point she had decided to leave, her life would be largely the same with only a slightly strange meeting at a mall. She did not make that decision and continued to acquiesce to this man’s request.
The man is a predator in every sense of the word. He used a false front to allow Annie to come into his world. He used the trust she had given him to create a situation in which she was comfortable enough to think that what he was doing was ok. He was also able to get her in a situation in which she needed his affection and all of this played right into his hands.
Rape is a horrible act that never leaves a person in their life. The young Liana Liberato gives an amazing performance as a 14-year-old dealing with the weight of such an issue that is much too heavy for a young teenager to bear. She is a classic case of Stockholm’s syndrome where she refuses to believe she was taken advantage of. She actually defends this man who so egregiously took advantage of her. It isn’t until some time has passed from this event that she realizes she was a victim of rape.
Annie’s father Will (Owen) can’t possibly comprehend what his daughter is going through. His once wonderful daughter is a completely different person and he has no idea how to react. As a father, he is powerless in this scenario. Men are often plagued by the natural instinct to want to “fix” things. Any scenario that causes his family problems, Will wants to “fix.”
What he doesn’t realize is there is no fixing this. He poses as a teenage girl in chat rooms to lure out Annie’s attacker. He steals files from the FBI agent investigating this crime. He uses the internet to track sex offenders in his neighborhood. None of it will make his daughter better.
His wife Lynn (Keener) understands this as Annie’s mother. She and Will fight over how he’s trying to help his daughter. His methods to fixing Annie’s situation are only making it worse. This leads to some incredibly powerful scenes between Will and Annie as they try to figure each other out.
‘Trust’ is a movie about something horrible. It doesn’t treat is a dramatic material though. This is, what I would imagine, an incredibly realistic portrayal of how a family would deal with such a horrific act. The movie doesn’t concern itself with vengeance or catching this predator, as most of these criminals go on without being caught. This is a film concerned with the real life portion, how everyone affected by this has to keep moving along. It’s not easy to live with this experience but somehow they have to find a way. That is what this movie is about.
As his first major feature David Schwimmer shows much promise as a director. The poignant scenes are powerful and not too overdone. He has command of his actors and only slightly does Will’s storyline reach outside the realms of reality. Despite those small moments this remains a very good and very powerful story. The performances are all top notch and I look forward to the next output from Schwimmer after this.