The controversial and highly anticipated premier episode of “Trust” delivered viewers into the dark, decadent world of the patriarchal Getty family.
Award-winning writer Simon Beaufouy (“The Full Monty” and “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire”) created a captivating depiction of the wealthiest oil family.
An A+ cast delivered a convincing performance. Donald Sutherland could have been John Paul Getty’s twin. Harris Dickinson, who played his grandson, John Paul Getty III, was a spitting image of the real-life man as well.
Aside from impressive casting, the actors fully convinced viewers they were, in fact, living the life of the Getty family in 1973. The use of actual television clips of current events from that time and a timely collection of music transported the audience back to the ’70s.
George Getty II, heir to the Getty oil fortune, killed himself in an allegedly drug induced freak out. This left the inheritance in limbo.
John Paul Getty Jr. (Michael Esper) believed he was next in line but needed to convince his father, John Paul Getty (Donald Sutherland), of his dedication.
The Getty men are plagued with addiction and succumbed to excess— much to the hypocritical disdain and disgust of John Paul, who himself bowed to excess with a harem of women at his beck and call.
Much to Junior’s chagrin, his black sheep, hippy son made a memorable entrance into the Getty house (to “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones). John Paul Getty III donned flared pants, a pinkish star patterned T-shirt covered with a jean jacket.
He was supposed to be there to mourn the loss of his uncle. Instead, John Paul Getty III shoveled food into his mouth while loudly apologizing for being late. His juxtaposition to the rest of the family was immediately apparent.
Junior later saw his chance at inheritance disappear which caused a mounting emotional rage directed at his son and his own father.
This premier episode did not fall short. Every aspect of the show from the lighting, the music, the set and the acting accurately portrayed the decade and the uncomfortable atmosphere of the house.
A unique collection of camera shots immersed the audience into the unpleasant nature that surrounded the family in the early ’70s. The characters were set in dimly lit, yet extravagantly decorated wooden walled rooms.
Alternating camera focus, a variety of angles as well as an obvious play with set lighting and natural light spoke to the emotional turmoil of both John Paul Getty and Junior.
The monochromatic tones of the sets paralleled the soulless, empty sensation emitted by a mourning, and obviously vexed, John Paul Getty—not to mention Sutherland’s beautiful delivery of a monologue in which he questioned, “is this to be my legacy?”
“The House of Getty” captivated and informed the audience. If viewers missed this but want to follow the series, this episode proved itself a must see. The background information and the mood set by this pilot is necessary for following the series.