DVD Review - Trust

Lianna Liberato in "Trust"
This movie has gotten mixed reviews with only Metacritc giving the film a 60, but Roger Ebert is leading the charge, saying that this is one of the best films of the year.

Clive Owen stars as Will Cameron, a British man living with his American family, his wife and three kids, in Michigan. He gives his eldest daughter, Annie, a laptop computer for her 13th birthday. Annie uses it to go online where she meets a guy named Charlie.

Charlie turns out to be in his upper 30s or early 40s. He also turns out to be a sexual predator who lures Annie to a hotel room where he rapes her.

Director David Schwimmer makes the first half hour like Catfish (2010) before the reveal, which becomes like the prologue to Hard Candy (2005). He doesn't just have Annie sitting in front of her computer or looking down at her smart phone. Yes, there are those shots, but the online relationship is built with clever title sequences that convey Annie's deception, the deception done by her and to her.

Liana Liberato co-stars as Annie and this movie becomes as much hers as it is Owen's. Liberato rises to the level of the best young actresses her age like Abigail Breslin or Elle Fanning. The obvious question is how a girl as smart and as savvy as her would let this man lure and manipulate her the way he did. Liberato with the help of the writers show us the situations a teenage girl is in, the pressures, and how someone could exploit that. Maybe it's not the choice that most of us would have made but Liberato makes it believable.

Owen has played a father before, but he's rarely seen in this kind of light. His character has some predictable reactions, but he's his strongest in scenes that pit him against Liberato. The filmmakers don't go down the typical road where father and teenage daughter are distant and this incident brings them closer. No! It's actually the opposite here.

The reactions of Will and his daughter Annie to the incident are so diametrically opposed that seeing Owen and Liberato at odds is the movie's best moments. Supporting performances from Oscar-nominated actresses Catherine Keener and Viola Davis buttress those moments. With a coda in the closing credits that's creepy along with a perfect song choice, this bodes well for Schwimmer as a filmmaker.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for disturbing material including rape and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 46 mins.


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