Blu-ray Review: TRUST - Uncomfortable Thriller Suffers From Predictability

This Clive Owen led tense psychological thriller is a solid attempt to capture the horror that sexual abuse places upon a family and, more importantly, an underage victim.

The notion of pedophilia on film is a tricky subject. Just how far do you go in representing something that 99.9% of the world€™s population deems utterly reprehensible? David Schwimmer €“ in his second feature after the much more light hearted Run, Fatboy, Run €“ tackles this challenge with gumption in his psychological sexual thriller Trust. Whether you€™re a fan of Schwimmer or not, he has a certain directorial flair and he handles his subject with tact. Released today on Blu-ray and DVD, our review follows. Fourteen-year-old Annie (Liana Liberato) is like any other teenager: she wants to grow up too quickly and spends her days trying to impress the popular girls at her school. At home, she spends her time chatting in online chatrooms. When she starts talking to a guy who claims to be another high school student, they become fast friends and Annie begins to consider Charlie (Chris Henry Coffey) her first boyfriend. After months of communicating via the chatroom and also on the phone, Charlie convinces Annie that they should meet. After a number of revelations €“ where Charlie continually increases his age - Annie discovers that Charlie is in no way who he originally claimed to be. When he takes her to a hotel room and rapes her, the happy suburban life of her family is shattered. In severe shock, Annie€™s parents, Will and Lynn (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener), have to come to terms with what has happened to their daughter, the laborious police investigation and Annie€™s reluctance to see that Charlie€™s actions were wrong. Struggling to support Annie and finding it difficult to come to terms her loss of innocence, Will decides that the only way to handle the situation may be to take it into his own hands? Trust is a rather routine thriller that will certainly be far too predictable for a lot of audiences to be anything other than evening filler, but it still remains a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging film. As a directorial debut, the film is commendable. Schwimmer handles the controversial subject matter of the narrative with grace, cutting away from any truly graphic moments that may go too far. Whilst there are moments that will probably make most viewers feel uncomfortable €“ the prime example being the not yet developed, painfully skinny and childlike Annie showing off a lingerie set to Charlie: really disturbing €“ Schwimmer decides to only hint at the truly unsettling elements. What he achieves is a film that has an underlying disturbed and unsettled tone, without being too uncomfortable to watch. He also displays a natural flair for direction, with fluid transitions between scenes and some eye-catching and impressive camerawork. Visually, the film is the perfect image of polite, civilised suburbia, but Schwimmer manages to employ some rather expressionistic camera angles at key points, helping to strip away this false mask of pleasantry to reveal the sordid underbelly of small town life and the world wide web. The performances from the lead cast are solid, if not generally outstanding. Liana Liberato is admirable in her role of Annie: something that must have been a huge challenge. She proficiently captures Annie€™s obsession with growing up and her desperation to fit in at school, but she really comes into her own in the more emotional and dramatic scenes after the rape. Never pushing her performance too far, Liberato remains credible as a victim and refrains from becoming irritating. Her abilities as an actress are impressive for her young age (she€™s only just turned 16 a few days ago) and whilst she is occasionally a little stilted in her performance she works well with the material to make Annie a mascot for your average teenage girl. Chris Henry Coffey is also perfectly cast as the reprehensible Charlie. Filling his performance with the right amount of charm (it€™s easy to see how he manages to groom Annie), manipulation and malice, Charlie is a character that will make most viewers€™ skin crawl for Coffey€™s excellent portrayal. Clive Owen and Catherine Keener have been better elsewhere, but both are proficient in their roles of the distressed parents. Whilst the actions of Owen€™s character are understandable and justifiable, it€™s hard not to just write him off as an irritation and hindrance to the FBI team handling the crime.

QUALITY

The visuals on the Blu-ray release are relatively impressive, predominantly due to its vibrant and wide colour spectrum. The HD transfer means that colours are bright and crisp, whether they are the lushes green of suburban lawns, the glossy whites of picket fences or the deep reds of interior decorations. The black colour scheme is less expressive, with a combination of deep, inky tones and less well defined greyer hues. The actual quality of the transfer is also slightly mixed, with moments of crystal clear clarity €“ predominantly in (extreme) close up situations such as faces, clothing or wallpaper/other innate objects €“ and those that are more susceptible to grain and other imperfections. Generally speaking, the picture quality is far from terrible, but it€™s also extremely surprising to find a film from only last year looking so varied. The audio quality is slightly more solid than that of the visuals, primarily because the film is so heavily dialogue-focused. Lines remain clear and audible throughout the film, with ambient and special effect sounds not marring these. Background sounds are kept rather minimal and Trust won€™t blow your mind on an audio level, but it delivers the drama of the piece well enough. The musical soundtrack is eclectic but never overpowering, so the audio track is rather simple but effective.

EXTRAS

The additional material on this Bluray release is really very disappointing and consists of only the following two features: Between the Lines: This interesting documentary is only short, but sees the cast and crew of the film analyse the important message and theme of the film, its original conception, Schwimmer's own research into the real world of online pedophilia and the dangers minors€™ face, the process undertaken for the casting, the actors and their characters, plus how authentic the end product really is. Outtakes: A standard collection of relatively unfunny outtake clips round up the bonus material. Film: 4.5 out of 5 This tense psychological thriller is a solid attempt to capture the horror that sexual abuse places upon a family and, more importantly, an underage victim. A commendable effort from former actor and director David Schwimmer, Trust is a very engaging, if at times uncomfortable, film to watch. Visuals: 3 out of 5 The unpredictable nature of this high definition transfer means that certain scenes are razor-sharp, whilst others are subject to imperfections and interference. However, the wide colour palette looks fresh and vibrant throughout and more than makes up for the shortfalls of the actual quality. Audio: 3.5 out of 5 The audio is predominantly dialogue heavy, but this is always crisp and clear even when there€™s ambient sound. The musical soundtrack is sparse and not very interesting, so the audio is nothing to really write home about. Extras: 1.5 out of 5 A very poor effort here, the only bonus feature worth watching is the behind the scenes mini-documentary. Clocking in at just over 15 minutes it€™s hardly in depth, but covers a variety of subjects and will keep more ardent viewers engaged. Presentation: 2 out of 5 The front cover tries to link Trust with other recent thrillers such as Taken and Unknown, with its predominant image of star Clive Owen. However, this is slightly misleading when considering that the film is far more about the family drama than any real action. Menus are simple, but do the job. Overall: 3.5 out of 5 An intense and engaging film has been given a rather paltry Blu-ray release here. A few more bonus features would have been welcome at the very least. However, Trust is definitely a film worth watching and generally looks and sounds fine here. Trust is out now on Blu-ray.
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