Monday, July 25, 2011

Trust: An important story and one of the best films of 2011 so far

Trust (Drama, Thriller)
Directed by David Schwimmer
Starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato and Viola Davis

Millennium Media | 2010 | 106 min | Rated R | Released Jul 26, 2011

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

English, French: TrueHD 5.1
English, French: Dolby Digital 2.0

English, French

Single 25 GB Blu-ray Disc

The Film 4/5

Director David Schwimmer is best known for his portrayal of Ross on Friends, but Trust shows that he’s also a talented director. The film deals with rape and it’s a subject close to Schwimmer’s heart. He’s on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica. His passion for the subject shows in the sympathetic way he handles some potentially awkward scenes.

The story focuses on a 14-year-old girl named Annie (Liberato). She’s a typical teen on the surface, worrying about how she is perceived at school and hoping to be popular. Like most children in today’s world, she spends a lot of time on the Internet and using her phone. We are frequently shown her text messages on the screen and the replies she gets. Her closest online friend is Charlie, who claims to be two years older than her. He gives her good advice and she trusts him.

As the story progresses, Charlie reveals that he’s 20 years old; then he amends that to 25. When he shows up without warning to meet her in the mall, she can see that he’s closer to 40 than 25. Although she’s initially dismayed, Charlie manages to gain her confidence. She gets in his car and the pair end up in a hotel room. The inevitable sexual encounter follows.

When Annie tells her friend what happened, her friend feels compelled to tell the school principal the story. The police and FBI are called in and investigate the sexual assault. Annie doesn’t see it that way and thinks that she’s in love with Charlie and that he understands her. Annie’s parents, Will (Owen) and Lynn (Keener), are shocked that their daughter has been raped by a sexual predator. Will starts doing some research of his own and finds out that several sexual offenders live close to his family and he’s appalled.

The film deals with the reactions of Annie’s family and her friends at school. The situation is affecting her relationships with everyone and tearing her parents apart. Will is consumed by the knowledge and it affects his marriage, work, and his relationship with Annie. Clive Owen is at his best and shows that he has considerable range. Keener is always good and she’s also convincing.

Annie’s character is the most important role and Liberato pulls it off superbly. She shows her vulnerability and innocence, but also her determination, and she's convinced that she knows better than those trying to protect her. We see her in therapy with Gail (Davis), and the two are utterly convincing. Schwimmer has assembled a cast that is more than up to the task of handling the controversial subject matter.

I have gone into a lot of detail, but I’m leaving a lot of things out as I don’t want to reveal all of the film’s secrets.

This isn’t a typical Hollywood story where everything is wrapped up neatly. The issues are real and some characters and relationships suffer permanent damage. What matters is that this story is told. The Internet is a wonderful resource, but there will always be those who seek to use it to exploit other people. Hopefully, some parents and teens will see the film and increase their awareness of potential dangers.

When I watch Trust, I’m reminded of Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita. The two films were shot fifty years apart and the world is a very different place today, but there are similarities. An Education also deals with similar issues and was set in the same time period as Lolita, but Trust provides a timely update in a world in which technology has advanced dramatically.

Put yourself in Will’s position and think about what you would do. Trust is a gripping emotional drama with an important message. I found myself captivated by the story after a few minutes and I couldn’t look away from the screen. Fans of emotional dramas set in the real world will probably appreciate Schwimmer’s thought-provoking cautionary tale.

Video Quality 3.5/5
Trust looks a little disappointing on Blu-ray. The colors appear accurate and the image is clean and bright, but detail isn’t up to the standard expected of a modern release. Facial details are lacking and the entire image looks soft for most of the running time. It’s not exactly bad, and likely won’t be distracting, but there’s certainly room for improvement.

Audio Quality 4/5
Trust is a story that’s driven by dialogue and it comes across clearly. The English TrueHD 5.1 mix delivers a competent track that is suitable for the mood of the film.

Special Features 2/5

The additional features appear in HD.

The Story of Trust (16:44) – The cast and crew talk about the film.

Interviews with Cast and Crew (13:43) – Repeats much of what was said in the opening feature.

Behind the Scenes (3:19) – Showing a few scenes being filmed.

Trust does a lot of things well. Schwimmer makes some good choices and draws good performances from the excellent cast. The pacing feels right and the importance of the story gives the film additional weight. Liberato’s performance is well worth seeing and seems incredibly real. Fans of Clive Owen’s action roles might not enjoy this as it’s a totally different type of film. If you like emotional drama, Trust is worth your time. The Blu-ray presentation is a little disappointing, but doesn’t detract from the story.

At the time of writing,’s price is just $13.99.

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