Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Revisit: Trust

A Fine Line Features release 1990

Written & Directed by Hal Hartley

A pregnant teen (Adrienne Shelly) meets a moody genius (Martin Donovan) with a hand grenade.

Hal Hartley's satirical view of suburban drama is arbitrary, but interesting none-the-less; a soap-opera world of absurdisms stuck in a Long Island vacuum, where things just happen. Roger Ebert once wrote "when a Hartley film plays on TV, you won't be tempted to go channel-surfing because the movie will seem to be switching programming for you", and it's true, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Trust has just enough American-indie, dysfunctional family quirk to keep it from feeling manufactured; considering the time of its release, it's probably more responsible for influencing the modern commodified indie backlash. The film is a ball of ideas, some work and some don't, but they all seem to point towards the fucked-up-ness of east coast suburban living, a theme Hartley has dealt with his entire career. The performances here are amusingly dead-pan, and the colors drab. If you like your hopeless romanticism with a bit of restraint, this film is for you.


Eliot said...

Good movie, maybe Hartley's best (though I do admire the ambitious Henry Fool). You're right though, its pretty schizophrenic in tone and ideas. But where Hartley lacks in focus I think he makes up for in signature.

e. banks said...

That's definitely true. But how much has his 'signature' been copied? Or worse - commodified? I feel like a lot of filmmakers have taken the worst bits of Hartley's work and made it their own. A misjudgement of influence, if you will. But it would be unfair to condemn Hartley for something outside his sphere that resulted from good, and honest intention.