Over the past year there have been a few films that centralize around social network sites, the most famous of these films is, of course, David Fincher's The Social Network, which lost out to The King's Speech for the Best Picture Oscar for the year 2010. We also had Catfish which was a documentary about the problems of social network sites, similarly to Trust, Catfish shows that you can be anybody you want to on the internet and not everybody is who they say they are.
Annie (Liana Liberato) is a normal, shy, insecure fourteen year old, she is sweet, very likeable and really should have no trouble making friends. For her birthday she receives a brand new computer which she uses instantly to chat to people online. She becomes very friendly with a 16 year old called Charlie however it turns out he is not 16 but 21. Even this is not true as he later reveals that he is 25 but even this is not true as when the pair agree to meet up Annie discovers that he is not 25 at all but much older. Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey) seduces Annie bringing her to his hotel room in which he rapes her.
Trust looks at the aftermath of the horrific act of rape by showing the different reactions to the crime. The mother, Lynn (Catherine Keener) attempts to rebuild and care for her daughter's shattered and destroyed life, while Will (Clive Owen) is full of anger and wants retribution on the man who tricked and seduced his daughter. Schwimmer's film shows that care, nurture and love is the best way to heal (if that is possible) a victim of rape rather than vengeance and the beating of a man does not undo what happened to an innocent victim of rape. It also shows the reaction from the victim and how at first Annie convinces herself that the two are in love but as the film progresses she begins to doubt and hate herself for what this man has done to her. It's powerful, moving stuff and director David Schwimmer handles quite sensitive, very real and very serious issues extremely well creating a heartbreaking but compelling drama that does a good job at looking not just at the crime itself but the aftermath of the crime and the huge strain it can place on a family that once was strong and united.
An act of rape destroys the victim's life forever, what makes matters worse is that very few rapists are actually caught due to the shame that the victims feel as they wash themselves of evidence. This feeling of shame and self loathing is exceptionally well shown by a magnificent performance by young star Liana Liberato. Liana Liberato really holds the movie together, it's the most important role and aspect of the film as she is the whole foundation of the film and Liberato represents many girls who have fallen to a similar fate. Liberato's exceptional performance is the main aspect that keeps viewers shocked, compelled and disturbed. Clive Owen is also excellent as the girl's father who is racked with guilt at his failures of being a father and belief that going on a quest of vengeance is the correct way to overcome this. Catherine Keener is also mightily impressive as the mother who takes a different approach to her daughter's traumatic experience. The rape causes cracks in the family, relationships are damaged and lives are changed forever.
David Schwimmer, who is an active director of the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica, which specializes in helping victims of date rape and child rape, can now be taken as a serious filmmaker as his second directional effort is a great one. The contrast to his previous effort, the decent Run Fatboy Run, is almost impossible to comprehend. Trust is a film that Schwimmer always wanted to make as the issue that Trust looks at is important to him; it's a personal project of Schwimmer's. Schwimmer matter-of-fact story telling is superb and along with the actors does an exceptional job at showing that the aftermath can be just as bad as the act of rape itself.
That said Trust is flawed, the tracking of the pervert is done CSI style and not really needed as Trust should stay focused on the effects that rape can have on the victim and a family as a whole. Trust is also slightly melodramatic in places, Jim Loach's film Oranges and Sunshine shows that a film can be just as powerful without all the melodrama and it does take a rather long time for anyone to figure out that this man has done this to other girls before. One of Schwimmer's themes is the over sexualisation of teens and the occupation that Will does causes him to exactly this as it requires him to take revealing pictures of younger girls, this seems a bit too ironic to be true and because of this the message Schwimmer wishes to send out never effectively pays off.
Trust is a film that will never do well in the cinemas but the success it deserves will be more profound on DVD. Trust is a well meaning, brilliantly acted compelling drama that is a powerful watch. Despite having some flaws the exceptional performances of the actors involved counter any flaws that are present in the movie. Trust shows that you can be anyone you want on the internet and nobody is none the wiser to what you say is true or not. It looks the effects of rape in a respectful and sensitive manner showing what it can do to a strong, united family.