Review: The Trust
PLOT: Two bored Las Vegas cops (Nicolas Cage & Elijah Wood) think they can score some easy cash when a drug dealer installs a sophisticated safe in one of his cover businesses. Little do they know exactly what the safe contains and who it’s connected to…
REVIEW: Say what you will about Nicolas Cage, but despite the many (many) films he takes-on nowadays, he can usually be relied upon to give a solid performance. Cage only really phones it in for sure-fire duds like LEFT BEHIND (the nadir of his screen career) and when given a shot at something that’s a cut above his average fare, he goes for broke.
THE TRUST is one of those better-than-expected Cage vehicles. From directing duo Alex and Ben Brewer, this is a quick, breezy dirty cop caper that, while not particularly original, offers Cage some prime scenery to chew. Clearly the directors know how to use their leading man, and Cage seems to be having a ball as a middle-aged cop saddled with a sick dad (Jerry Lewis – playing it straight in a cameo) and a boss whose idea of good police work is sending his lackeys to check out confiscated auction goods he wants to buy. Sporting a trademark cop stache’, Cage plays his character as slightly loopy from the start, munching down on lemons doused with Tabasco, and playing weird, frat boy pranks on his young friend, a slacker cop played by Elijah Wood.
While Cage is so actively milking the material for all it’s worth; Wood has the somewhat thankless job of playing the straight-man. It’s a change-of-pace for Wood, who doesn’t typically play cops, but Wood’s got a solid craft going and never tries to play it too tough. Rather, he just plays him as incredibly bored with the job he hates, until shocked into some kind of mild action once Cage’s character starts to go off-the-rails during the heist.
Strangely for this kind of thing, the first half of the movie, which is more character-driven and devoted to planning the heist, is far superior to the more action-driven second half. It’s not that the Brewers haven’t done a good job making a tight, confined little two-hander (with only Sky Ferreira as an unlucky hostage sharing the screen with them in the last half of the film), but once Cage starts acting crazy and Wood starts to snap out of slacker mode, it becomes a little more run-of-the-mill. There are still some interesting digressions here, but the first half is where everyone seems to be having the most fun – being a kind of police satire rather than the full-on thriller it becomes.
Despite the unevenness, THE TRUST is far superior to most VOD movies out there, something driven home by the fact that it had its premiere at SXSW. It’s a modest film but a well-crafted one with some good production design (the safe much of the second half takes place in looks really cool). If nothing else, THE TRUST proves Cage is as engaged as he ever was and seems ripe for a comeback. Someone needs to get on that.