The Trust is billed as a crime thriller-cum-black comedy. Unfortunately, this first outing from the brotherly directorial pairing of Alex and Benjamin Brewer is neither thrilling nor funny on any level. Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood star as crooked Las Vegas cops turned wannabe robbers in a heist movie which is as stagnantly paced and unengaging as it is narratively rote: they’re tired of their jobs, moan about lamentable salaries, discover a drug dealer’s secret safe of ill-gotten loot, and determine to procure said loot for themselves. Sound like a familiar storyline? It’s uninventive, as tense as overcooked spaghetti and utterly forgettable.
By extension, it is hard to remember the last time Nicolas Cage made a good film. The Trust won’t do anything to revive the vital signs of a career that has long since flatlined. The actor, whose voracious appetite for total dross continues to opt for quantity over quality, retains some of the sardonic madness which characterised his best roles: the wide eyes, his head reeling every which way, a chilling laugh and delivery that flits between menace and deranged humour. Sporting a filthy moustache and decidedly pudgy here, the seniority of his character, Stone, commands respect from underlings who take his hot air and tales of glories past as gospel. How ironically apt. Wood plays Waters, a partner in crime so devoid of any personality that he is really quite boring. He smokes pot, sleeps with a prostitute and deeply inhales the scent of a former girlfriend’s sweater before using it to clean up his cat’s mess. Having well and truly lost his mojo, at no point during The Trust does Wood’s character regain his joie de vivre and he’s such a vacant dullard that we just don’t care.
There is an air of goofy comedy and haplessness to their shambolic travails that is meant to amuse but fails to do so. It’s also difficult to sit anywhere near close to the edge of one’s seat when, during many hours of noisy work above the aforementioned safe, there’s so little sense of interruption. You’d think that Vegas drug kingpins with millions of dollars worth of diamonds might keep a closer eye on their stash but apparently that isn’t the case. As such, the Brewers’ film plays out as comparably laborious and unenjoyable as drilling through three feet or reinforced concrete. Everyone’s hoping for a big pay out but you’ll leave the cinema empty handed, wanting your money back.
Matthew Anderson | @behind_theseens