For 10 years, David Schwimmer made you chuckle as earnest, feckless Ross on Friends. But in his feature directorial debut, Trust, he will infuriate you and make you cringe — especially if you’re attempting to parent a teenager. Unlikely as this shape-shift seems, Schwimmer in real life has been focusing for the last seven years on the very unfunny subject of sexual predators. Trust is based on the story of a father he met while involved with a Santa Monica rape treatment center, and it is really a horror story for the Internet Age. 14-year-old Annie is a bright and untroubled girl safe in the sanctum of a picture-perfect family (who wouldn’t want Clive Owen for a dad and Catherine Keener for a mom?). And she does what comes naturally to any kid born after 1990: Live a second life online. Entirely through nightly chats, she falls for “Charlie” — seemingly the out-of-state boyfriend any father could love, who turns out to be anything but.
After a very disturbing scene in which Annie meets Charlie in the flesh, which briefly turns Trust into a psychological thriller, the film angles off to her parents, and to her father’s agony in particular. Owen, who often plays the stoic and cold-blooded anti-hero taking care of business, offers here a taut portrait of a man who cannot save his own daughter from the world’s evil. Law enforcement agents seem competent but ultimately ineffectual.
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