Trash represents a change of pace for director Stephen Daldry, whose previous credits include the likes of The Hours and The Reader; as this is his first foreign language endeavour: shot in Brazil with a cast predominantly speaking in Portugese. However the one constant that has served him well across his career, is to have youngsters in the lead roles and our entry points into these worlds, as following on from both Billy Elliot and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, our protagonists are teenagers; and it’s this blissful, endearingly naïve outlook which again proves to be Trash‘s greatest facet.
Our heroes in this instance are Raphael (Rickson Teves), Gardo (Eduardo Luis) and Rato (Gabriel Weinstein) – who discover a wallet when trawling through the local garbage dump. They’re from a favela, poverty stricken, and thrilled to get their hands on some petty cash. But the money is not the most valuable thing – as the government fervently pursue these young boys to retrieve their discovery. Why they are being followed is a mystery to the three friends, but they’re not willing to give up until they uncover the truth.
The premise to Trash is a hugely entertaining one, designed and crafted in such a way that we build up towards what should be a big finale – with so many questions posed along the way, as we know all of the answers we seek are still to come. Though that’s undoubtedly the case, and we are left pondering over how this may conclude, discovering new clues and evidence along with our protagonists; piecing this narrative together as we go – Daldry loses his audience towards the end, making for a finale that’s anticlimactic. Of course we can’t specifically say why this is the case – but given the way this film is presented, it requires something special to end on, and sadly we’re left wanting.
Nonetheless, the three youngsters in the lead are incredibly impressive – so comfortable in front of a camera, with bags of charisma. Their co-stars, Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara are also more than accomplished in their roles, though their additions do feel superfluous; throwing in renowned actors just to try to help raise the film’s profile, and their characters feel out of place as a result. But, that being said, even if this is the case, if it does mean more people go to see the movie, that’s not too much of a bad thing.