Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pilot Review: Trust

Trust (FX)
Premiered March 25 at 10pm

I started watching this show and immediately thought to myself – I just saw this movie, and I know exactly what that opening scene represents. “All the Money in the World” got attention for director Ridley Scott’s incredible ability to recast Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer and finish the movie in a month, leading to a Golden Globe bid for Scott and an Oscar nomination for 88-year-old Plummer. I wasn’t fond of the film, though Plummer was definitely good, and this story didn’t serve as a particularly appealing one to revisit. Yet that’s what happens these days on TV, especially as FX dramatizes O.J. Simpson and Gianni Versace. I immediately wasn’t fond of the chime of money in the soundtrack, and opening with a Getty family member impaling himself with a meat fork felt unnecessarily brutal, particularly in how it appeared to be portrayed in a comic manner. The elder Getty as a figure is undeniably intriguing, but showing how selfish and stingy he was can only go so far without being excessively alienating. I’m not fond of this show’s editing style, inserting clips of the Kennedys as he talks about his legacy, and then cutting to other shots during later scenes, which just didn’t feel necessary at all. Sutherland, who, like Plummer, is also Canadian, but eight years younger, and his performance isn’t quite as compelling. We haven’t seen Hilary Swank’s Gail just yet, and we only saw Brendan Fraser in the Mark Wahlberg role for a moment. This introductory episode did highlight the relationship between Paul and his grandson before it soured, and the end of the hour suggests that the younger Paul was much more complicit in his own kidnapping than the film suggested. Comparing it to the film isn’t all that productive an exercise, but I found this to be equally off-putting.

How will it work as a series? That shot of Paul running through the grass that bookended the episode is sure to be central to this season, though the overarching plotline is about Getty the billionaire and not just this one experience. This is all about grandstanding and showing Getty to be so power- and money-obsessed, and I’m not sure the worthwhile parts of the story will be able to get through that.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be pretty positive, just a little less so than the film. From the ratings data I’ve seen, the premiere wasn’t watched by all that many people, even by FX standards, which suggests to me that maybe this series will end up being just one season.

Pilot grade: C

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