Blu-Ray Review: Clive Owen, Liana Liberato Are Stellar in ‘Trust’

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CHICAGO – David Schwimmer’s ‘Trust’ is one of the best films of the year to date that I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen. After playing at the Chicago International Film Festival last fall (where it was easily one of the best works at the fest), it received a far-too-limited release in April and has made barely over $120k TOTAL domestically. Rent it. Watch it. Now. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

What did you miss in theaters? A daring, genuine, heartfelt, remarkable drama about an event that shatters an average family with two of the very-best performances of the year from a brand-new actress and one of our best actors doing some of the best work of his career. Underneath even the most typical family units impending tragedy can loom, and rarely has that been handled with such delicacy and finesse as in “Trust.”

The tragedy in “Trust” involves an absolute scumbag, the kind of man that this father would like to see tortured. “Trust” centers on the kind of incident that’s usually not handled without melodrama and is often the playground of Lifetime TV movie writers. It’s about betrayal, pain, confusion, and the understanding that we as parents sometimes can’t put all the pieces back together.

Trust was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 26th, 2011
Trust was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on July 26th, 2011
Photo credit: Paramount Home Video

The betrayal in “Trust” is that of a sweet, smart, beautiful teenage girl named Annie (Liana Liberato, giving not just one of the best debut performances of the year but one of the best performances, period). Annie gets close to a boy that she thinks is her age online. She tells him things she’s never told anyone. Can’t wait to talk to him. Dreams about him. And then she meets him in the mall and discovers that he’s not a boy. He’s a man. And he’s a predator.

After the shocking turn of events, “Trust” could have turned into a standard melodrama but it becomes a fascinating dissection of how we respond to emotionally-shattering events. Clive Owen does his best work since “Children of Men” as a father who wants to commit violent vengeance and distances himself from his family even further through his obsession. Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, and Jason Clarke are stellar in supporting roles but “Trust” is about a young girl forced to age earlier than she should have to and a father struggling with his inability to protect her.

Clearly, Schwimmer and writers Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger are walking through an emotional minefield of cliches with “Trust,” which makes their success that much more remarkable. “Trust” does not resort to cliche and it does not make its disturbing subject matter easy on the audience. The key scene between Annie and the scumbag who takes her innocence is difficult to watch. But it should be. This is tough subject matter handled incredibly well but you should be warned — it’s not easy to take. It will make you angry. It will make you sad. The key is that it will move you — and so few movies honestly do.

Sadly, although not surprisingly given the low box office, “Trust” is nearly empty of special features with just a 16-minute behind-the-scenes piece and outtakes. I’d have loved to have heard a commentary from Schwimmer, Liberato, or Owen. But the key here is not special features but the movie itself. Don’t miss it.

“Trust” stars Liana Liberato, Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, Jason Clarke, and Noah Emmerich. It was written by Andy Bellin and Robert Festinger and directed by David Schwimmer. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 26th, 2011 and is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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