Family is never finished

I recently completed and repeated watching 2018’s Trust which was all kinds of entertaining and troubling. I know, I’m late to this, but it’s still very much worth a review. For a story I knew guessed the basic arc for, there was so much tension and clever story telling. As a narrative, or as three entwined circular narratives that move backwards and forwards exploring the consequences of power, corruption, tradition, and family it was fascinating. I say three narratives here because the Khan/Bullimore (sub)plot deserves a mention, it was so well delivered. Anyway, psychologically speaking, so many father/son issues.

The camera work, gorgeous locations, careful detail, with knowing editing, costumes and sound track: all top notch. Plus, the cast were compelling: not a why is this person appearing in this amongst them. Brendan Fraser’s security employee/narrator and his breaking the fourth wall/narrative reflexity worked really well. His approachable Texan, as an outsider to wealth, the UK and Italy, took me with him as he eventually understood the world he moved through but wasn’t a part of. The women, amid this toxic masculinity mess, did the emotional labour, take the heart break, and it made it more real. I think Hillary Swank was powerful if slightly under utilised.

Circular plot is circular

Special mentions to Donald Sutherland and Luca Marinelli (Martina Eden) because Sutherland as Getty Snr and Marinelli as Primo, completely Owned. The. Freaking. Screen (except when Francesco Colella quietly stole scenes as Leonardo). Anywho, both were brilliant as different kinds of people, yet equally as magnetic and intimidating. Sutherland’s Getty had all the authority and smug assurance of age, immense wealth, and power, while Marinelli’s Primo possessed a dangerous and chaotic energy of a man bent on acquiring money and power. Plus, they both had superb (accidental) comedic timing with the ludicrous things their characters said and did. The thing is, I’m not someone who ever mistakes actors for their characters, so I would never suspect either Sutherland or Marinelli of being like Getty or Primo, but look, I’m taking a moment to appreciate how very good they each are at being utterly convincing here.

Primo symbolising the circular plot devices

Primo also delivers the great lines, which are mundane without their context and terrifying because of it, including ‘family is never finished’. Yet on occasion, the humanity, or frailty, or what passes for normality are revealed in both Getty and Primo, before once again, they do something to assert their power and you just gape. And for all that the ending was still a surprise.

I don’t think I can shake the end of the episode Silencio, just when there’s a sense of hope for Paul and Dante. The thing is, we suspect what will happen, since, like Paul, Angelo tells us what this series is about: the difference money makes, and what trust means. Primo’s refrain at the end is the single best line of the series, an innocent phrase turned gruesome. We watch, and realise one of the characters knows, and we see her hiding from it, like the rest of us should hide because it’s too much; another trauma piled onto trauma. And, as Leo explains later it is Paul’s fault. Primo is a shark, doing what sharks do in his own habitat, it’s young Paul who’s out of place, chumming the water with his fanciful dreams and wild-child desperation.

Perhaps the literalness of the metaphors goes over the top (Midas, Hadrian) but then again, everything is over the top; Getty Snr’s ambitions, his family, and their hangers on, the hedonistic teen, his lovers and friends, the Getty staff, the Romans and the Calabrians. They are too much and that’s how it begins, continues and ends. To quote a seasonal expression it’s all in excelsis. It works.

Also, I’m surprisingly ok about being irrevocably (re)traumatised by 70s fashion and cartoon shout outs.

Highly recommend. Go watch this.

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