Toronto 2010: “Trust,” Reviewed

Toronto 2010: “Trust,” Reviewed (photo)

Posted by on

Reviewed at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

Nothing comes easy in “Trust,” a drama about pedophilia that will inevitably face heavy scrutiny should it make it out of Toronto, and even with Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, there’s reason to be skeptical. It is at once an attempt to deal with one of the last taboos in a way that keeps audiences engaged and it’s directed by one of the stars of “Friends” that refuses to employ the stylistic flourishes or overt moralizing that usually make such films easier to digest. Yet a lack of artistic creativity shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of narrative ambition.

Schwimmer takes the road less traveled with “Trust,” the story of a 14-year-old named Annie, who becomes the victim of an online predator after months of IMs and texts with a boy she thinks is her own age, discussing volleyball and the other girls at her school. Except that Annie never really considers herself a victim, even after she meets her virtual boyfriend ChRLeeCA in the flesh, discovers he’s 40 and the two engage in not entirely consensual sex at a local motel where her mind drifts after some uncertain protests. In her eyes, if she’s a victim of anything, it’s what happens after the act, when her admission to a friend at school leads to a search for a man she still considers her “boyfriend” that truly has nasty repercussions.

Since Owen plays her father, this would be the part where you’d expect him to double pump a nearby shotgun and get angry for her, but to their great credit, the script from Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger leaves far more ambiguity than that. (It’s worth noting Festinger was last co-credited with the screenplay for “In the Bedroom.”) As the adult most shaken by Annie’s situation, Owen goes from pushing forward with an ad campaign of scantily clad models at work to wondering what he’s done wrong as a parent when there really might not be an answer. (Keener plays his wife and hits some nice grace notes in an underwritten part.)

09112010_Trust-1.jpgTo build some tension, Schwimmer indulges in some searching for the wanted pedophile, bringing in a FBI investigator (Jason Clarke) and a psychiatrist (Viola Davis) to help with any familial trauma, but “Trust” defiantly bucks the notion of being a chase film or some sort of Lifetime movie of the week in favor of realistically depicting the aftermath of such an incident. In their anger and confusion, Keener and Owen raise their voices more than once over what to do, appearing less mature at times than their young daughter who has the insecurities of a teenager that feed into her headstrong nature. First-time actress Liana Liberato gives a poised performance as Annie, though if there is any concession to the reality of movies versus actual reality, it’s that her cherubic dimples scream an innocence that tips the film’s hand as to where it’s going in the first act.

Schwimmer also has his limitations as a filmmaker, for better or worse. Whereas “Run Fatboy Run” suffered as a comedy from his restraint, “Trust” benefits from it, usually knowing when to let certain scenes breathe and when to pull back in others. There are a few instants where a heavy hand pokes through – Owen’s internal struggle ultimately manifests into some unexpected physical violence and Schwimmer is none too subtle in amping up the score and going crazy with the editing. But by that point, he’s generated enough goodwill by respecting the audience’s intelligence to make the more uneven aspects forgivable.

Considering there haven’t been many films of note to take on pedophilia with sophistication and ample consideration, and the few that have usually try to provoke by taking great strides to humanize the pedophile, “Trust” is a bold film, just for humanizing the victims by showing their flaws and making their plight seem all the more relatable.

“Trust” currently does not have U.S. distribution.

Watch More

Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

Watch More
Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

Posted by on

End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Watch More

Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet