It starts with Waters (Elijah Wood) laying in bed staring at the ceiling while a woman gyrates her body on top of his. There is action going on, but the pleasure senses don't react for the Las Vegas evidence police officer. Even when he arrives to a crime scene, Waters is happy to see one of his coworkers struggle to deal with a perp hiding in a closet. At least it gives him a good laugh. His other partner, Stone (Cage), is a bit of an odd ball, constantly on the watch for evidence items that he can swap for his friends, taking care of his father at home (Jerry Lewis in a pointless and non-existent role), seeming like a nice guy, but not exactly all there behind the eyes. A character like this makes for the perfect Cage role, sprinkling in his ticks, especially as the two gather at a Vegas nightclub where Stone convinces Waters to try a lemon with Tabasco sauce. It makes for a funny, albeit cringe inducing moment.
There is something to be said about Cage's performances in the setting of Las Vegas. The sin city has brought out some of the best from the Face/Off actor. In Leaving Las Vegas, he portrayed a man drinking himself into oblivion, in a performance that brought him Oscar gold, and a success that Cage has yet to top. Even his lesser known Honeymoon in Vegas earned him a Golden Globe and revealed a versatility of his comedic side, which is often forgotten. The Trust finds a way to mix most of those good habits, as cinematographer Sean Porter keeps Cage wide eyed under the glow of the neon lights.
When Stone finds evidence that reveals a criminals secret vault in a drug house, he convinces Waters to agree to get in on the action with him. Suddenly, the light hearted nature of Stone's odd habits don't seem so nice anymore. The script, penned by Benjamin Brewer and Adam Hirsch, has a Faustian “deal with the devil” turn that involves taking a hostage and the realization that maybe the get rich quick idea wasn't what Waters thought it could be. The heist itself plays with the relaxed nature of Michael Mann's Thief, but also goes to some dark places, revealing that Waters' cold nature is just for show.
The Trust is not going to make up for the number of direct to Redbox movies Cage has been putting out there. The title alone will have audiences assume it's just that, but you might want to seek this one out. The performances from Wood and Cage blend together like fire and ice, while the direction from the Brewer brothers is a promising start to what could be an up and coming career. If they can light a spark in the career of Nicholas Cage, maybe my review can inspire you to take a chance on The Trust.
2 ½ Stars
MOVIE: THE TRUST
STARRING: NICOLAS CAGE; ELIJAH WOOD
DIRECTED BY: ALEX BREWER; BENJAMIN BREWER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Round and round spins the wheel of Nicolas Cage movies, and we still don’t know which type of performance, or movie for that matter, we are going to get. Roger Ebert would write about how an entire semester course on the works of Cage could be taught at a university. Here is the Oscar winning actor’s most recent film, The Trust, which has one of his wackiest performances of recent memory, and is actually a really good thing. Brother director’s Alex and Benjamin Brewer pair Cage with Elijah Wood in a heist film that highlights their acting styles in all the right angles.