In the new artfully-minded heist film “The Trust,” Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood star as a pair of dirty cops who journey through the seedy criminal underbelly of Viva Las Vegas. Against this backdrop of a city so synonymous with drugs and mystery, directors Ben and Alex Brewer create the perfect balance of an unexpected off-beat comedy and an edge-of-your-seat thriller, making this film a high-intensity joyride that you won’t want to get off of.
Stone (Cage) and Waters (Wood) are your two average police officers, albeit both stuck in an arrested development period in their mundane lives – Stone still lives at home, and Waters still enjoys toking up the reefer. It isn’t until Stone stumbles upon a piece of mysterious evidence surrounding a local drug dealer that he recruits Waters to join him in investigating the suspect’s suspicious activity. Taking matters into their own hands, the duo discovers a hidden vault deep inside a small grocery store, and despite clear knowledge of what is actually inside the vault, Stone and Waters agree it is worth breaking into, for their own bounty. In doing so, however, even they aren’t prepared for what they discover about the job and each other.
Nicolas Cage is given great comedic material to work with as Stone, his dry sense of humor sprinkles over the “matter of fact” dialogue, which keeps the film feeling fresh. Both wacky and charming, Cage brushes off his many flaws and mishaps with the suaveness of a used car salesman. Elijah Wood proves the perfect partner in crime; to Cage’s outlandishness, Wood perfectly nails the off beats with spot-on reactions and one-liners. The casting of Cage and Wood reminds me of “Clue” in its tone with the characteristics and charm of “Dumb and Dumber,” and will show audiences what an alternate pairing of Frodo and Aragorn might have looked like (Cage infamously turned down the “Lord of the Rings” role that went to Viggo Mortensen).
“The Trust” is an impressive debut feature film from the brothers Brewer, who have made a name for themselves in the music video world with videos for Justin Bieber, Dum Dum Girls, and Alt-J. The type of D.I.Y. attitude that comes from a music video set can be felt here, as the energy in the handheld shots and crafty camerawork engages the audience throughout the duration of the runtime.
While the third act ending feels a bit incomplete, as a whole, “The Trust” is perfect for those wishing to see two fantastic actors paired in delightfully quirky roles. To quote Woods’ Waters, “This is some Nancy Drew shit, and we’re skipping right into it.” No matter how you do it – skip, run, or jump – “The Trust” offers a riotous, unexpectedly fun time.
“The Trust” is rated R for violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use. Playing at the Laemmle NoHo this Friday, 5/13.