Released: 12th March
Seen: 24th November
You know, lately we’ve had a run of seriously bad sex dramas that are less sexy and dramatic and more like painful farces designed to make us pay for our sins. 50 Shades, After, 365 Days, all of them (and their terrible sequels) sexy dramatic films designed to titillate and intrigue that mostly just get on the thinking audience’s tits. They’re not good and not fun, what ever happened to fun sex dramas? Well, looks like Trust might be just barely good enough to show that there might still be some actual creativity left in this admittedly tawdry genre.
Trust introduces the audience to husband and wife Owen Shore (Matthew Daddario) and Brooke Gatwick (Victoria Justice). They’re a fairly normal couple, he’s a fairly well known news anchor while she is a gallery owner currently working with former street artist Ansgar Doyle (Lucien Laviscount) who has something of a reputation for sleeping with the women he works with.
As part of her job, Brooke has to go with Ansgar to Paris to meet with someone who wants to buy Ansgar’s art which really upsets Owen. Owen goes out drinking with his friend Adam (Ronny Chieng) and ends up meeting a woman named Amy (Katherine McNamara) who flirts with Owen and eventually goes home with him… at least, that’s how it looks at first but slowly it becomes apparent that there’s a lot more going on than just a simple affair and the trust between the married couple will be stretched to the absolute limit.
Trust is a film that, for lack of a better term, really trusts it’s audience to stick with it to get to the juicy stuff. For the first act it’s a fairly mundane piece where everyone’s set up, the affair happens and everyone’s just a little bland. Honestly, for the first 30 minutes it almost felt like the film was holding back so much that it was going to just be kind of boring… and then it starts showing its hand and you realise how smart this film actually is. Every now and then the film will jump around the timeline, going back a few weeks or even just showing a different perspective on events we’ve already seen to provide context that can turn a simple affair into an insane trust exercise that was set up to fail and it weirdly works.
Even though this is a relatively small cast of 6 main characters, most of Trust relies on the chemistry between Matthew Daddario and Victoria Justice and both of them kill it. You get instantly why they’ve been together so long, you can tell by little glances that there’s some issues right from the beginning and there’s a wicked power play between them that just bubbles up slowly throughout the film until the explosive ending. The supporting cast certainly helps, in particular Lucian Laviscount who just keeps pulling focus anytime he’s anywhere within the frame, but those two make this work… mostly.
While the film is fairly smart and realistic about how it handles this topic and even occasionally has a sense of humour about itself, it almost feels like it’s playing things too straight for a film in the erotic drama genre. Even when it’s pushing itself to an explosive ending, there’s an odd sense of restraint that feels like it doesn’t belong in this genre.
Now, this could be because this is an adaptation of a stage play (you can kinda tell) and there’s certain things you can’t really do on stage but… this is a film, in a genre kind of known for pushing a lot of boundaries, why not just go for broke and have some fun? In the final act it certainly starts hitting the tone that you hoped this film would hit the entire time but for a film that’s about people being pushed into having affairs it’s certainly nowhere near as steamy as it should be… hell, the film is rated M in Australia, which is “Recommended for people over 15”… not restricted, recommended. Just push a little further, cos you’re being out-sexxed by After We Fell, which is not a compliment.
Still, even while it feels more restrained than most others like it, Trust is still a fairly enjoyable time. It’s got good performances, an interesting story and a pretty great ending. It might’ve needed a little more cheese to really push it into being one of the truly entertaining films of its type, but I can’t deny there was a lot going for it… if nothing else, it introduces its audience to the song Back Door Santa and any movie that does that deserves a little bit of love.