Trust– Episode 3: “La Dolce Vita”
Starring: Harris Dickinson, Hilary Swank, Donald Sutherland, Laura Bellini, Sarah Bellini, Luca Martinelli, Andrea Arcangeli, Giuseppe Battiston
Written by: Simon Beaufoy
Directed by: Danny Boyle
”Don’t worry. They always pay in the end.”
The final Danny Boyle directed episode of Trust takes us through the gritty particulars of the crime in “La Dolce Vita.” Written by series creator Simon Beaufoy and laser-focused on the innocently compelling Harris Dickinson, “La Dolce Vita” shows the hilariously inept and shockingly violent real story behind the fake kidnapping of John Paul Getty III; filtering it through the emotionally dynamic lens of Danny Boyle. If episodes 1 and 2 were all about setting up the world of Trust, then episode 3 is about showing just how dark it really can be.
Told through intersecting timelines, one in the present while John Paul is in transit and the other in the past roughly a week or two before the kidnapping, “La Dolce Vita” finally gives us the full scope of the crime outside the gates and walls of Sutton Place. And the world outside those walls is a rough and wild place, my friends. Our ginger haired constant through the episode is Harris Dickinson’s John Paul. We got a little taste of his wiry energy in the first episode, but Beaufoy, Boyle, and Dickinson really have room to use it in this third episode.
Hooked up with a bad crowd (who have been racking up drug debts in his name, unbeknownst to JPGIII) and living the starving artist life, Dickinson inhabits the skin of the unmoored youth really well. Better still he makes him empathetic instead of just another rich white asshole. Sure, he’s super nieve, more than a little dumb, and self-destructive, but he’s just a kid being a kid. It’s hard to hate him in this episode. This is also supported by a all too real scene between Dickinson, his mother (a beaming Hilary Swank), and his dickhole stepfather. I have the feeling that this show really has something to say about family dynamics and their effects on children. I’m interested to see if it commits to it. The actors certainly seem game to.
Beaufoy and Boyle also double down on Dickinson’s charm and energy by making him a heart-wrenching victim of circumstance (of sorts). Though it was his idea to be “kidnapped,” Getty quickly finds himself in over his head and in deep with all manner of bad Italian button men. The worst of which being Luca Martinelli’s Primo, a mustachioed, tracksuited crack shot who John Paul finds himself in the hands of after the episode’s methodically paced finale. Though Trust still makes great use a wry sense of humor, “La Dolce Vita” really starts to show the series’ teeth in terms of violence and stakes. It really does it a world of good.
I am kind of sad to see Boyle go on this show, to be frank. “La Dolce Vita” really displays his deft handle of tone. He bounces from harrowing to hilarious to dream-like within the span of a few scenes. I’ve heard some good things about the next episode (I know I am slightly behind, but Fallout 4 isn’t going to play itself, dorks). I really hope the show doesn’t lose its delicate balance between cheeky and chilling in the episodes to come.
Verdict: Watch It.
Supported by the solid foundation of the first two episodes, “La Dolce Vita” finds Trust really finding its voice, heart, and teeth. This episode really stood well on its own, but I am curious to see how all three of the current episodes stack up next to each other as a part of Boyle’s filmography. I think that might be a column for another day. Until that day, enjoy Trust because I think it could really end up being the sleeper hit of 2018.
Until next time listen to the new Jack White record, and I’ll be seeing you.