Wednesday, April 6, 2011

David Schwimmer: The Victims and the Victimizers

Rape has always been a delicate topic in films, and has been showcased with outrage, malaise, horror, sarcasm, symbolism and manipulation. Actor-director David Schwimmer's new film, Trust is engrossing in an outrageous sort of way.

First of all, we begin with a somewhat unconvincing family which, okay, we  grow into. Brit dad Clive Owen and ordinary mom Catherine Keener. Three kids, cute teenage son and moppet daughter, with Annie(Liana Liberato in a revelatory turn) stuck in the middle, the innocent yearning teenager growing up ungarnished. The plot is penetrated when Annie is raped by a predator she meets on the interenet, and the remainder of the film is spent with the family coping with this tragedy, and especially how it affects Annie and her justifiably enraged father.

Now the problem is that there is an unevenness of tone, an incompatibility of device that threshes the after school special to the revenge film to the melodrama. Schwimmer is more triumphant than not at illuminating the soul of Annie as opposed to exploiting it. Liberato is insanely talented for such a youngster. Her performance is both deeply felt and wrenching. Apropos Owen, Keener and the subtly powerful Viola Davis, who give their all for such a dubious project. Nathan Larson's score is beauteous and building, and Andrzej Sekula is adept at creating the visual atmosphere to accompany this story, especially the artful and disturbing assault scene.

In the end, though not entirely riveting, Shwimmer does keep you watching, ingeniously blurring the line between the victims and the victimizers.

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