When S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) died in “The Avengers,” “Trust me” was born. Like a phoenix brushing off the ashes, Coulson’s death afforded Clark Gregg time to begin his recently debuted film, “Trust Me.” The Renaissance man served as director, writer, and headlined, no small feat. A fantastically acted flick, “Trust Me” displays riveting dialogue, quirky characters, and a plot which doesn’t completely reveal itself until after the credits roll. Ultimately, Gregg’s film further solidifies his already respected screen-presence, and reminds audiences of his remarkable off-screen talents.
“Trust Me” follows child actor agent Howard Holloway (Gregg) as he struggles to retain clients. A former child star, it’s obvious Holloway doesn’t just want his kids to succeed, but thrive. Comparisons to Coulson are unavoidable; Clark assumes the helm, lending both characters a humble honesty, charming awkwardness, and strong will. Despite their shared traits, and likenesses, Gregg differentiates his characters primarily through Holloway’s shabbier suits and transportation, as well as his increased physical energy compared to Coulson’s.
After losing a client and his mother who were more personal than professional, Holloway’s luck appears to reorient when he meets Lydia (Saxon Sharbino). A talented teen actress who has just been cast for her first major film role, she chooses Holloway as her agent. Though the script is fictitious, the plot mimics any of the proliferation of young adult flicks congesting cinemas. Howard’s nemesis, rival film agent Aldo (Sam Rockwell), who is clearly more financially successful, vies for Lydia’s attention over Howard.
“Trust Me” is one of 2014’s most well-acted movies, if not the decade’s. Featuring seasoned thespians in even the smallest roles, there’s not a poor scene in the film. Molly Shannon appears briefly as Janice, the mother of Holloway’s client Phillip (Griffin Gluck). Felicity Huffman graces the screen for a sizable role as Agnes, a film executive. The talented William H. Macy receives a painfully small, though wholly appreciated segment as a pony-tailed car dealer. Headliners Clark Gregg, Amanda Peet, Sam Rockwell, and Saxon Sharbino exude a natural chemistry, and occasionally combustion.
Clark Gregg’s script shines, and dialogue drives much of the film. It’s a cliché free script, and cleverly crafted. Conversations feel natural with the ebb and flow of real-world situations. Arguably the strongest aspect of “Trust Me” is the narrative. The full complexity of the plot doesn’t reveal itself until the unexpected finale, and as the movie progresses it transforms from a cheerful comedy to a weighty tragi-comedy. This notion of metamorphosis exists not only externally but also within the film, relating to Lydia’s script as well as the relationship between Howard and Lydia.
With a veteran cast, intricate plot, and one of the greatest recent screenplays, “Trust Me” is among the elite cinematic pieces that warrants a second viewing. The penultimate moment contains a stunning twist, Marvel-worthy in its unexpectedness. Only after the screen fades to black does the full meaning of the title ascend upon the viewer. The next viewing allows for a deeper understanding, and small intricacies offer “ah-ha!” moments nudging close watchers in the correct direction. Now that Clark Gregg has sufficiently whetted our cinematic palates, let’s hope his next project isn’t far behind. “Trust Me” is currently available on video on demand from a variety of sources including Amazon, iTunes, and select cable and satellite providers. If you’re asking why you should watch Gregg’s film, simply refer to the title for the answer: “Trust Me.”