At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Trust “2010”

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Drama Thriller/ Stars: Liana Liberato, Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, Jason Clarke, Chris Henry Coffey, Noah Emmerich, Spencer Curnutt, Aislinn Debutch, Zoe Levin/Runtime: 105 minutes

I think it’s safe to say that the 2010 slice of cinematic pie I am reviewing today is quite distinct. That is because the movie I am reviewing today, 2010’s Trust, is one that makes quite the visceral impact thanks in large part to a terrifyingly realistic situation of online stranger danger that tragically happens every single day to people all over the world despite an overwhelming amount of cautionary measures and tips to the contrary. Thus Trust is a relevant and maybe even essential film that gives you, the viewer a brutally honest peek at the perils that creeps on the Internet can bring into the lives of gullible young people and their rampant emotions in order to obtain the “prize” of being able to deceive and destroy a young person and their whole lives. Yet it’s even worse nowadays since the Internet is no longer limited to a computer at home, but also on tablets, cell phones, etc. where a young person is able to have limitless and unrestrained freedom online, often without parental approval, and find themselves being susceptible to a locale where fantasy, discretion, and impartiality prove invaluable to people wishing to engage in some truly despicable stuff. Suffice it to say that this slice of cinematic pie is by no means easy to sit through. Indeed this is one well-acted and well-written foray into a nightmare that is even more frightening not just because it could happen in the world around us, but rather because, as much as we hate to admit it, it does every single day to young people trying to do no more and no less than show the world around them they deserve to take those first steps toward being seen as young adults.

The plot is as follows: Trust gets its plot underway as we see that a 14 year old by the name of Annie is completely enraptured in blissful happiness to that point that she is as giddy as a school, well technically she already IS a schoolgirl but you get my drift. That is because we see that Annie has engaged in an expanding friendship online that has the potential to become more with another young person, a boy calling himself “Charlie”, who lives a ways away. Yet just as it looks like they’re about to take things to the next level, we see Charlie make a sudden confession. A confession that takes the form of him first admitting to Annie that he is actually a star volleyball player in college who hid who he truly was in order to avoid appearing to be too much of an authority figure when he was giving Annie tips on how to make the high school team and then changes to being a grad student who is in his mid-20s (yeah right). Yet even though I can see all of your internal alarm bells ringing dear reader, we see that this is not the case for Annie. If anything the completely head over heels teen takes these story changes in tow and decides to meet her Prince Charming at a mall in town while her mom and dad are off taking her older sibling up to college. Suffice it to say that it should come as no big shock or spoiler to learn that this meet-up right off the bat goes completely and utterly awry since it soon becomes apparent that good ol’ Charlie is significantly older than even the last age he claimed to be. Naturally this raises a few suspicions with Annie, but we see that Charlie is quickly and disgustingly smoothly able to persuade her that this relationship forming between them can move forward. However when it finally gets out that she has been seduced by a guy who is significantly older, we see that not only does she find herself at the heart of an investigation of a criminal nature, but that her significantly enraged to say the least father also decides to try and hunt this “Charlie” down in order to seek personal retribution. Yet even with all of this hanging overhead, we see Annie still vehemently refuse to see the bigger picture and continue to claim that what she and Charlie have is special and that come hell or high water no one is going to take that away from them. Thus will this girl ever wake up and realize that the situation she’s in is not only icky, but also just downright perverse and illegal and will her father get his vengeance on the man that has turned his daughter’s, and through her the rest of the family’s, life completely upside down? Suffice it to say that I will leave you to discover that for yourself…

Now not only does this slice of cinematic pie to the point and terrifyingly show just how perilously sick some people can, but it also authentically shows how the world online can take quite the toll on a person’s life to say nothing of their relationships with others. Indeed be it Annie’s continually growing relationship or her degrading one with her parents due to Charlie making her feel he loves her more than they do, this slice of cinematic pie puts its focus on how this young woman’s life as well as the lives of the people closest to her are affected for the worst by her new relationship. Yet if there is one thing this movie does not choose to engage in, it would be that it doesn’t provide a balance to Annie and her ordeal in the form of relationships both in the real world and in cyber space that are not destructive by any means of the imagination. Yet although this movie only gives us one side of this issue, it doesn’t really lose any respect from me for choosing to do so. This is because the aim of this movie is not to trash the Web or relationships that we form online. Rather, it’s just cautioning you, the viewer to do a better job at sifting through the mess, know that it’s ok to just say, keep an eye out for anything suspicious, and above all just use common freaking sense. In other words: this is a film that has a desire to open your eyes and show you what could happen in order to educate you better so it doesn’t happen to you and in that regard this movie succeeds admirably.

Now yes this slice of cinematic pie is in possession of a phenomenally penned script that does a wonderful job of weighing out both the horrors and grim truth about the situation this movie revolves around, but the component that ultimately transforms this into a truly riveting piece of cinema is the caliber of its pair of main roles. Indeed both Clive Owen and Liana Liberato manage to give this movie top-flight and frighteningly realistic work in this that do a wonderful job of helping mold the overall film whilst also providing microscopic-level clarity to the thematic concepts at play as well. Indeed as Annie, we see that Liberato is able to give us the range needed for both her character and the arc she undergoes this phenomenally well. Indeed be it the moments where she is giddily talking with her online beau, excitedly anticipating her first date with the guy, befuddled and wondering if this guy is on the level, giving in to what he wants, falling for him again, or if she is angry and just lashing out in regards to the whole ordeal, this young woman does a wonderful job at playing every single aspect I mentioned among others perfectly and is thus able to make you sympathetic of her plight, proud of her, and downright annoyed at her behavior all at the same time. Suffice it to say it’s the kind of work that can lead to an equally as amazing career, but is a riveting and potent performance on its own to begin with. Then on the other side of the acting coin is the work done by Clive Owen and his performance in this is both just as riveting and just as difficult to pull off. Indeed Owen does a wonderful job at giving us a dad that is both doting if not slightly ignorant only to then change into an infuriated vengeance seeker who must keep his desire for revenge from including his little girl even though it’s his little girl who’s giving him the most grief for wanting vengeance in the first place. Suffice it to say this one guy whose situation he is entrapped in is one that is just as emotionally visceral as his daughter’s and as such we get a performance in this that are equal parts raw, potent, and yet wonderfully dependable and truthful as Owen gives us some fairly immersive pathos that really propel his character down a lot of different paths as the movie goes on.

All in all I think it can safely be said that at the end of the day, 2010’s Trust is a very terrifying and more often than not quite visceral slice of cinematic pie to sit through. Yet even with that in mind as well as its numerous adult concepts at work, it still might just validate itself to you as a jolt to the world around us that could potentially help to ensure that others never have to go through the terrifying possibility of crossing paths with some of the more twisted people one can unfortunately come across online. Suffice it to say then that when you combine this with both a riveting script and a collection of truly top-notch performances what you get is a slice of cinematic pie that is easily molded into one of the finest reality-based thrillers of the past 15 years and one that, despite its difficult subject matter, is definitely worth a watch. On a scale of 1-5 I give Trust “2010” a solid 3.5 out of 5.