The new FX series “Trust,” which premiered on March 25, follows the stranger-than-fiction true story of oil magnate J. Paul Getty (played by Donald Sutherland), who was at one point the richest man alive, and his refusal to pay the ransom to free his grandson John Paul Getty III (Harris Dickinson) from Italian kidnappers in the 1970s. But is the story any less applicable now in the 21st century? On March 15 director and producer Danny Boyle discussed the eerie parallels between an oil empire like Getty’s and modern tech empires like Amazon. Watch him above.
Boyle believes that if Getty were alive today he would “entirely approve” of a company like Amazon trying to get “the most impoverished cities in America to give him tax breaks, and whoever gives the biggest tax break he’ll maybe give the headquarters to.” That kind of practice “makes the system not responsible to any of the people who feed it or buy from it.” Powerful companies are thus able to place themselves “above government” to follow “the pure laws of capitalism.”
Boyle points to a scene in “Trust” in which Getty explains how oil is an inextricable part of all aspects of life and the power that can be wielded if you control it. “If you swapped out [oil] for data the scene is completely applicable now,” Boyle explains. And he made these observations before the recent news reports about Cambridge Analytica secretly accessing 50 million Facebook profiles for political purposes. So much like how fellow FX series “The Americans” with its 1980s Russian spies is eerily relevant to 21st century geopolitics, so too might “Trust” be relevant to 21st century business.
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