“You know the drill.”
Here we are once again; staring into the abyss that is Nicolas Cage’s VOD career. The one time Mongolian dinosaur skull owner returns to Vegas, the home of his Oscar winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas for The Trust, a tiny movie with tiny movie star; Elijah Wood. Quite surprisingly, The Trust is pretty good, great even, and this is mainly down to it’s two lead actors who have good chemistry and a script that plays to their individual strengths.
The film’s main character is almost certainly Wood, whose instant likeability is useful for when his character, Sergeant David Waters, is committing ever-so-slightly scummy acts. Wood is a phenomenal actor and he plays the twitchy and downtrodden character extremely well; he’s the perfect match for his boss and partner in crime; Lieutenant Jim Stone, played by Cage with typical gusto. For me, a bad Cage performance is an understated one. The film can be good or bad, but if you don’t let Cage do his thing then we’ve got problems. Luckily The Trust is perfect Cage – a role that balances genuine hilarity, menace, and a super Cage freak-out. Bad ass Cage that starred in films such as Face/Off and Con Air is gone, we now have an older, larger, but more 3-dimensional Cage. A more complicated character works better for Cage and it’s great to watch a film where Cage’s humour is (mostly) intentional; he probably hasn’t been this funny since Adaptation.
The film’s not all laughs though, and a depressing third act left a few critics cold on the film. I loved it though, and the film’s grim picture of suburban Las Vegas juxtaposed with the shiny neon of the strip is interesting and, most likely, pretty true. The rest of the cast is suitably underused, except for a small, mostly silent role for Sky Ferreira and a fun little appearance from My name is Earl‘s Ethan Suplee as a scummy cop. This works though, leaving the main two stars more time to interact in what are probably the best moments in the film. After the first half following these characters bumble their way through a heist set up, the second half shows the actual break-in, and it’s much slower and tense, almost as if it’s real time. The humour is there at first but as the darker side of Jim becomes apparent the trust between the two of them starts slipping. The direction (from sibling music video directing due Alex and Ben Brewer) is good too. it doesn’t away from the fact that the film was made for next to nothing and uses the cheapness to accentuate the scumminess of Las Vegas. There are a few very nice shots in there too, and a great ending long shot that recalls the awesome inside-a-car shot from Children of Men.
The bottom line: The Trust is a funny and sometimes dark little B-movie. it’s not going to win any awards or change the film industry but it’s one of the better VOD offerings of recent months. Cage and Wood are superb and play off each other brilliantly and there is one of the best ‘Cage losing his shit’ moments I’ve seen for a while. Check it out if you can, but it’s a must for Cage fan’s – he’s not been this good in quite some time.
Reviewed By Tom