It’s a sad fact that when you get together a great cast, the end product isn’t necessarily going to be equally great. Trust has an ensemble full of talented faces, all of whom I recognized: Victoria Justice (MTV’s Eye Candy), Matthew Daddario (Freeform’s Shadowhunters), Kat McNamara (also from Shadowhunters), and Lucien Laviscount (FOX’s Scream Queens). What it doesn’t have is a coherent script that unfolds in a satisfying order. Relationship dynamics are interesting and intriguing at first, and it seems like we are promised a twisty, character-driven thriller. Instead, Trust lacks metaphorical meat on the bones to sustain flimsy characterizations.
Brooke (Justice) and Owen (Daddario) are the picture-perfect married couple. Brooke is stressed about a big gallery opening, while Owen is a successful news anchor who just wants to “fulfill his life’s purpose as a trophy husband.” Two mysterious, seductive new people worm their way into the lives of Brooke and Owen: Ansgar (Laviscount), a street artist from Dublin trying to make it big in America; Amy (McNamara), an adoring fan of Owen’s frequenting a local bar. The rest of the summary can’t even be written without spoiling major aspects of the plot, and moments it chooses to frame as ‘twists’.
The acting in this is exceptionally good, and deserved smarter scripting. The chemistry between Brooke and Owen is cute and natural. These actors are all highly skilled in delivering dialogue thanks to their years on various television shows. Characters who may have been hollow on the page bubble, pop with personality. Katherine McNamara as Amy dials up the alluring aspects of her character; Amy’s obsessive traits make her that person everyone will hate. The only weak link is Lucien Laviscount, who looks the part entirely, but that Irish accent doesn’t even come close to hitting the mark.
Flashbacks go overboard, marking the narrative structure excessively disjointed. An opening sex scene sets the stage for what’s to come; the story jumps around more than that of television show Lost. The ending is too abrupt to justify this constant time-jumping. One of the flashbacks is a giant half-hour worth of exposition dump. If the editing had rejiggered things significantly, this actually had some potential. Beyond the film’s blueprint, interplay with gender dynamics and entrapment are engaging. A game cast that fleshes out their characters feel hungry for better script structure. Trust has so much talent behind the screen—I can’t quite say it made me a believer. Trust comes to theaters Friday, March 12th.