“Trust” is a hard movie to watch; it isn’t so much enjoyed as experienced.
A 14-year-old girl, Annie, falls into a relationship on a teen website with a boy, Charlie, who’s 16, then 20, then 25, then, when they finally meet and end up in a motel room, 35. The police get called in fairly quickly, but it takes much longer for Annie to see him for what he is, a sexual predator of adolescent girls.
Roger Ebert’s one-liner in his top 20 films of the year, on which it occupies number 17, is “The bravest thing about David Schwimmer’s ‘Trust’ is that it doesn’t try to simplify.” That’s a fair statement. It doesn’t try to simplify Annie, nor her father Will (Clive Owen, brilliantly playing a role that has almost no place to go), nor even Charlie, who is all the more creepy for how normal he appears, and is never demonized even as the audience, like Will, wants to kill him for what he’s done to Annie and her entire family.
Nor does “Trust” take a simple path even in its structure. It has a plot point number 1, of sorts, but not a plot point number 2, not least because it doesn’t really have a protagonist (nor an antagonist, beyond the demons in Will’s mind and, eventually, Annie’s).
“Trust” strikes something like false notes only occasionally, as the characters all too often are able to articulate exactly what’s going on with them in a preternatural way, but when it happens in the climactic scene, the words fit the characters like gloves and they give the entire film a prefect resonance.
“Trust” is eminently worth enduring. I don’t see nearly as many movies as Ebert, but for me, too, it’s one of the best of the year.