The Trust

Review by Phil W Bayles @philwbayles

Directed by

Alex Brewer Benjamin Brewer

Starring

Elijah Wood Nicolas Cage Sky Ferreira

Anticipation.

Nicolas Cage has five movies coming out in 2016. The law of averages says one of them has to be good...

Enjoyment.

Bad Lieutenant: Vegas or Bust.

In Retrospect.

Cage is on fine form in this slick little thriller.

Elijah Wood and Nicolas Cage play a pair of crooked Las Vegas cops in this breezy heist caper.

Elijah Wood spends most of The Trust sporting a facial expression somewhere between bemused and horrified. Considering his co-star is Nicolas Cage, master of the fabled “nouveau shamanic” acting technique, this is understandable. Take an early scene at a bar when Cage steals a lemon slice from his colleague’s glass, covers it in Tabasco and chows it down. You can’t help but wonder, was this written in the screenplay? But where other directors might simply let the actor run ramshod for 90 minutes, newcomers Alex and Benjamin Brewer seem to have tried pointing him in a straight line.

The result is a breezy heist movie not unlike its lead actor: it might veer off the straight and narrow, but it’s never dull. Cage and Wood star as Jim Stone and David Waters, Las Vegas cops who have slipped into corruption purely by dint of being too smart to simply be incompetent. Through some off-the-books sleuthing and a series of discoveries that are never quite properly explained, they stumble upon evidence of a secret vault in the back of a convenience store which they believe to be stuffed with dirty cash. A fairly standard preparation montage (procuring tools, scouting out the location) is elevated at every turn by Cage, poring over plans with his nose covered in sunscreen, or ordering drill bits in broken German.

For most of the first act, it feels Cage-lite (think his phoned-in Johnny Blaze from Ghost Rider), but the Brewers slacken his leash just enough to drive up the tension as the heist proper begins. The Trust may not break new ground in the genre, but it’s a handsomely made example of a tried and tested formula. Cinematographer Sean Porter eschews the garish neon hues of the Vegas Strip for a cooler colour palate, and Reza Safinia’s up-tempo score helps to keep up the pace. Crucially, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Casting Cage is a gamble, but the Brewers are wise enough to know when to walk away from the table.

Published 27 May 2016

Tags: Nicolas Cage

Anticipation.

Nicolas Cage has five movies coming out in 2016. The law of averages says one of them has to be good...

Enjoyment.

Bad Lieutenant: Vegas or Bust.

In Retrospect.

Cage is on fine form in this slick little thriller.

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