The Trust (2016)


I admit I was expecting more from the new heist thriller, The Trust. The film by writing / directing siblings Alex and Benjamin Brewer, and starring Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood and Sky Ferreira, has been heralded as a black comedy. Having watched it though I found very little of a humorous air — either black or any other colour — about it.

Two less than straight Las Vegas cops (Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood) discover the chance to pull off the heist of a lifetime, which could make them very rich indeed. However, as with most criminal operations, not everything goes to plan as the boys find out to their cost.

If you watch the featurette which accompanies The Trust on DVD, a number of those involved with the film — both in front of and behind the camera — wax lyrical about the privilege of working with the caliber of the two main stars involved with the production. However, though Cage may have years of experience with big budget Hollywood films, and Wood has been involved in some of the medium’s most successful recent blockbusters (namely everything Tolkien’ish), The Trust is a woeful miss-use of their talents.

There are a certain group of actors who — though they may not admit it publicly — will do virtually anything which comes their way in order to make money. Unfortunately Cage is one such person. For every good film he does — and admittedly there are some such as 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas – there are just as many duds. However, Cage has got to the point now that viewers almost approach his films with the attitude that they’re going to be run-of-the-mill, to the extent that when he does anything good, it turns out a pleasant surprise. You have to accept after all, when you’ve been in the industry as long as Cage, you can’t expect everything you do to be a hit.

Wood, on-the-other-hand, is still relatively fresh having only really hit the big time with The Lord of the Rings films. However his standard of work seems to be have hit a peak with those, going steadily downhill since. Apart from the occasional promising blip — as with the full on 2012 remake of the cult slasher Maniac – most of his recent films have come and gone with little or no fanfare — a fate which, if there is any justice, should befall The Trust.

The real problem is that despite a relatively promising premise — two dodgy cops discover a lot of money and attempt to pull off an audacious robbery themselves — the film is so full of unpleasant people and situations that the viewer is left by the end, caring very little for what happens to any of them. There are also a number of aspects to the film which are simply not utilised to their full extent, the most obvious being the criminally underused setting of Las Vegas: so little is made of Sin City’s recognisable features, that the film could have been set in any nondescript American backwater, without adding or detracting from the film or it’s storyline.

I could go on but perhaps this would be doing an injustice to The Trust which, overall, has nothing terrible to say against it, but equally well, nothing terribly good to say about it either.

Directors: Alex Brewer, Benjamin Brewer
Writers: Benjamin Brewer, Adam Hirsch
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira
Runtime: 92 mins
Country: USA

Film Rating: ★★½☆☆

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