The Trust

 

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This passable but misjudged thriller about a pair of crooked cops will only be remembered for its casting.

  

Trust, The

Criminals in blue: Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood 

 

Heist films rarely go astray through a failure to maintain a consistent tone, but that is the fate of The Trust directed by Alex and Benjamin Brewer and written by the latter with Adam Hirsch. The setting is Las Vegas and at the outset we meet two police officers who in addition to being close colleagues are also friends: Jim Stone played by Nicolas Cage and David Waters played by Elijah Wood. They stumble on evidence that an arrested drug dealer had been given bail in unlikely circumstances and on looking into that they discover the location of a newly installed large vault clearly used to secure something valuable, probably money. With Jim taking the lead, the duo turn to crime with a plan to drill down into this secured area and then to break into the vault.

Such a tale could have been told seriously, but here the writers opt for the banter of a buddy movie with plenty of jokey lines. Cage and Wood play competently so there is no reason why The Trust should not have worked as a deliberately lightweight but entertaining movie. But then, in conflict with this, when the plan is put into operation Jim proceeds to kill two people and is for that matter ready to shoot two others. Audiences eager to enjoy what is on offer may turn a blind eye to this conflict of tone but, even if they do, they will be pulled up short by the film’s last quarter of an hour. That’s because there is a total switch in style as the film becomes a straight thriller. The modest pleasures of The Trust are seriously jeopardised by this because, even if on its own terms the final section is competently done, it is utterly at odds with what the film has been up to this point.

That said, what remains to be commented on is the appearance in the cast of Jerry Lewis, apparently brought in because Cage was keen that he should play Jim Stone’s father. Having been barely seen for over twenty years and now being ninety years old, his presence is a surprise. He does not disgrace himself, but there is no parallel with the return of James Cagney in 1981’s Ragtime which saw a veteran making a final mark with splendid assurance. Whatever I had expected of Lewis here it was not that this late appearance would be in a role lasting less than five minutes. Since as a performer and director he was so popular in France, one was left with the thought that the only apt credit for him here would have been one that adapted that old caption remembered from French films made decades ago: “avec la participation extraordinaire de Jerry Lewis”.    

 

MANSEL STIMPSON               

 

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira, Jerry Lewis, Kenna James, Kevin Weisman, Keston John, Alexandria Lee, Steven Williams.

 

Dir Alex Brewer and Benjamin Brewer, Pro Brad Schlei, Mike Nilon, Braxton Pope and Molly Hassell, Screenplay Benjamin Brewer and Adam Hirsch, Ph Sean Porter, Pro Des Scott Kuzio, Ed Lauren Connelly, Music Reza Safinia, Costumes Mona May.

 
A Hassell-Free production/Highland Film Group/Ingenious Media/Saban Films/The Electric  Shadow Company etc.-Signature Entertainment.
92 mins. UK/USA. 2016. Rel: 27 May 2016. Cert. 15
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