Hit or Miss: 'Trust'

What is it about?

Have you seen All the Money in the World?

Yes: Same thing

No: Both the movie and this new series from FX chronical the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson to billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Arguably, the most fascinating aspect of this story is the fact that Getty refused to pay the ransom for his grandson’s life despite being arguably the richest man in the history of the world. This time we get Donald Sutherland in the role of Getty instead of Christopher Plummer and Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “28 Days Later”) behind the camera instead of Ridley Scott.

Why this could be bad?

The obvious knock against Trust is that it comes just months after Scott’s film on the same subject. Add on the fact that All the Money in the World has performed rather poorly at the box-office and you have a possible recipe for disaster. Perhaps audiences at home just don’t care about the Getty story. However, the failure of Scott’s film and the controversy surrounding it (the replacement for of Kevin Spacey and pay gap between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg) could mean that the air is clear for Boyle’s version to skate through as the definitive take.

Why it could be good?

Curiously enough, Boyle’s version of the Getty kidnapping story appears to be wildly different in both tone and interests from the All the Money in the World. You can clearly see the differences by at least comparing the trailers for both projects. As one of the maybe five Americans who has seen “All the Money in the World”, I can attest that Scott’s version certainly takes the rout of a gritty 70s crime thriller, focusing almost solely on the kidnapping itself and the ticking clock tension of bring young Paul home before violence ensues. Trust, on the other hand, seems way more interested Getty’s as a kind of dysfunctional family. The series also appears to be taking on a much more playful tone, as opposed to the film version which is deathly serious; a wise decision considering I don’t think I could periodically return to a program with the same bleakness as All the Money in the World.

However, what fascinated me further is the differences between Christopher Plummer’s take on Getty and the one Donald Sutherland seems to be playing with in Trust. Plummer plays Getty as more of a rich miser, whose wealth allows him to live in a bubble, unaware and unconcerned with the troubles of the outside world. On the other hand, Sutherland seems to be leaning into Getty being a total snob. Both are interesting takes on a historical figure, which is why I propose that we have a an eventually debate on whether or not someone is team Plummer or team Sutherland.  

Hit or Miss? 

My hunch is hit, considering the pedigree of the project and the fact a prestigious network such as FX is backing the series. Personally, I’m more susceptible to Boyle’s stylishly playful take on this story than Scott’s.  

Jesse Nussman