Trust is an important drama thriller about a teenage girl who falls prey to an online predator and the repercussions that a rape has on the victim and her family. It’s an eye-opening yet disturbing watch, partly for its inevitability and for its real world danger with families at risk of the same incident.

Every father wants to protect his little girl and Trust offers something of a social commentary on how media has brought with it a wave of new privacy and safety issues. We’re unaware of what kids get up to at the best of times and Trust gives the roving eye a chance to present both sides of the parent-child relationship as 14-year-old Annie becomes the target of a pedophile in her own home.

David Schwimmer, best known as Ross in Friends, has directed several films to date including oddball comedy Run, Fat Boy Runwith Simon PeggTrust is a much more daring project, delivering a difficult social message that no one really wants to hear or acknowledge in the hopes of preserving their bubble of peace.Hard Candy treated the same scenario as a thriller with some clever twists in a Red Riding Hood vs. The Wolf style theme, butTrust broadcasts a slice-of-life and all the ugliness that follows such an invasive assault.

The drama stars Clive OwenCatherine Keener and introduces young Liana Liberato who plays Annie. Owen deals with a sympathetic and obsessive father figure, who takes all the blame – unable to shrug off the guilt and move forward to the point of alienating his daughter. It’s a powerful performance that will resonate will most fathers who remain helpless and pinned by the gravity of these unthinkable acts. He’s supported by Catherine Keener, who plays a secondary lead – concerned, ever supportive and more balanced in absorbing the it-could-never-happen-to-us backfire.

Liana Liberato shares the co-lead with Owen as each of their experiences intertwine in trying to come to terms with what happened in their own way. Liberato is a real find, helped by her anonymity, yet lead by a real sense of presence and emotional vulnerability. The script leaves her in a state of denial and it’s just heartbreaking to see her grapple with the aftershock of innocence lost – making for compelling drama as she bounces between her psychologist, friends and family for understanding.

Spling MoviesDavid Schwimmer has delivered a well-balanced and intelligent independent film. The violence and sexuality is a necessary evil, harsh enough to hit home without taming the ugliness. These moments are fleeting and allow Schwimmer to focus on the collateral damage this incident has on an isolated family with far-reaching consequences. It has the power of a documentary encapsulated in a heartrending drama thriller and should at least be obligatory awareness material in school systems.

Schwimmer could have tightened the screws when it comes toTrust’s thriller label, but they would’ve taken away from the overall integrity and honesty of this reality snapshot. He generates strong performances from his cast and the indie drama feel grounds the film. Including the “innocent” back-and-forth online chat banter as “subtitles” allows him to ease into storytelling as the silent all-seeing narrator showing the audience just how friendly and innocent these introductory conversations can be.

Tough, unflinching and emotional, this gripping film is supported by first-rate performances – making it an eye-opening and important indie social drama. There are one or two discordant moments that create unintentional humour and minor distraction, but these flaws are overcome by noble intentions and emotional intelligence.

The bottom line: Heartbreaking

Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling
www.spling.co.za
www.spling.mobi


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