The second full-length film from director-screenwriter Hal Hartley, TRUST displays all the characteristics which made his first feature, THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, a cult hit--suburban Long Island settings, deadpan dialogue mixing metaphysical ponderings with non sequiturs, understated black

humor. TRUST, though, fails to break any new ground, and lacks some of the spontaneous charm of the previous work.

The film begins with seventeen-year-old Maria Coughlin (Adrienne Shelly) confronting her father John (Marko Hunt) with the news that she's pregnant and plans to drop out of high school. He insults her; she slaps him and leaves home; he falls down dead of a heart attack. Maria wanders the town and

meets Rachel, a despondent housewife who confides all her woes in Maria and gives her money for food. Maria fights off a would-be-rapist shopkeeper while trying to buy beer, and emerges from the store to find that a baby has been kidnapped; she suspects Rachel of the crime. Maria hides out in an

old abandoned house where she meets Matthew Slaughter (Martin Donovan), a troubled young man who carries around a hand grenade his father brought back from Korea just in case he decides to kill himself. With Matthew, Maria faces--inter alia--angry parents, a search for the missing baby, an

abortion, and some twisted sexual intrigue.

TRUST is stylishly photographed and crammed with quirky, offbeat incidents and dialogue. As in THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, Adrienne Shelley gives an engaging performance as a confused, alienated suburban girl who meets up with an enigmatic, potentially violent stranger. Hartley has an appealing and

distinctive world-view; those who enjoyed THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, however, may feel as though they've seen it all before, and that it was better structured and more convincingly performed the first time around.