Kristen Lazarian’s stage play “Push,” a dramatic exploration of the nature of infidelity, holds a fair share of similarities to Patrick Marber’s show “Closer,” only less poetic, less textured. So, it comes as no surprise that the feature film version similarly exists under the towering umbrage of Mike Nichols’ shadow in his 2004 of that celebrated production. In every conceivable way, Trust looks and feels like a Lifetime original movie iteration of Closer, with all the nuance and complexity replaced with glossy cinematography and CW-Network-teen-drama-level performances.

The film concerns the weathered marriage between art dealer Brooke (Victoria Justice) and TV news reporter Owen (Matthew Daddario). The hot NYC couple have been together since high school and as of late, have struggled to conceive a child with their busy lives constantly putting pressure on their sex life. Brooke begins representing a new Irish artist, Ansgar (Lucien Laviscount), a smoldering bohemian who considers fidelity to be a myth and makes no effort to hide his considerable attraction to his new business partner. Owen, unsurprisingly, is jealous and insecure about the arrangement, particularly when Brooke cancels a trip with him to instead fly to Paris with Ansgar.

Both husband and wife develop fears of the other cheating, with Owen obsessed by Ansgar’s constant presence, and Brooke overanalyzing text messages Owen receives from women she doesn’t know. While Brooke is overseas, Owen has what appears to be a random hook-up with a fan at a bar (Katherine McNamara), but turns out, in fact, to be an operative hired by his wife to test his faithfulness. This could be an interesting rumination on the travails of monogamy in a post-digital world, but instead it becomes an ouroboros of blame and accountability.

What begins as a tangled web of wondering who is truly being faithful and who is hiding something devolves into an absolute mess when the story goes non-linear, showing the audience scenes out of order and out of context. But not in a carefully curated sort of way, like, say, Memento or something.

Rather, the script repeatedly, at dramatically convenient moments, flashes back to scenes between scenes we’ve not been privy to as calculated swerves. The effect, in the right hands, could make for a properly twisty thriller of a romance film, keeping the viewer on their toes as to who they truly — ahemtrust. Instead, the format is so haphazard, it begins to feel like the final act montage of a Saw sequel, retconning previous scenes into a new light for cheap “gotcha” moments.

It’s a shame this structure crumbles so quickly, because director Brian DeCubellis otherwise displays moments of potential that transcend the otherwise stilted, HD porn quality of the film’s visuals. Sure, every scene looks kind of like a lingerie commercial, but he knows when to hold on moments of quiet consternation. He can tell when lingering looks and pauses of doubt can pick up the dramatic pieces left on the ground by Lazarian’s bland verbiage.

Hell, his commitment to properly utilizing the familiar background noises of ring tones and smartphone vibrations as their own kind of suspenseful score from scene to scene almost makes this one of the better movies to tackle interpersonal relationships for the new persistently connected status quo. This is one of the few films that believably weaves the commonly understood nuances of iOS as an operating system to wring tension from seeing a text bubble turn from blue to green.

But because it’s focused on a pair of characters who each behave in such clumsy and self-destructive ways, when the film’s final act tries to rouse the viewer into a “boys vs. girls” narrative, to allow for their personal biases and own relationship trauma to pick a side between husband and wife, it falls apart. Trust has already presented us a pair of deeply irritating and unrelatable people, so when their partnership collapses under the weight of their own failures to communicate, it’s just too hard to care.

Summary
In every conceivable way, Trust looks and feels like a Lifetime original movie iteration of Closer, with all the nuance and complexity replaced with glossy cinematography and CW-Network-teen-drama-level performances.
40 %
Glossy Trash
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