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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Trust 2016 * * 1/2 Stars

The TrustDirectors: Benjamin Brewer, Alex Brewer
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Jerry Lewis

Las Vegas. Home to elicit gambling, legal prostitution, and gleaming neon lights. It's also the setting for The Trust (my latest review). Speaking of that setting, well the Vegas in "Trust" is in a way, not personified. We're talking about the Sin City outer world here. I didn't view one scene where a trouper was hitting the slots, taking in a Wayne Newton show, or noshing on shrimp at a casino buffet.

Anyway, The Trust is directed by two brothers (Benjamin and Alex Brewer). They fashion a dirty cop movie that's a little offbeat and a little off the aisle. The first half feels like this year's The Nice Guys. The second half is akin to a grubby Ocean's Eleven. There's a hint of Russian roulette, Elijah Wood smoking plenty of reefer while feeling paranoid, Nicolas Cage channeling a goofball civilian killer, and a breezy tone of background music. Finally, you have Jerry Lewis appearing in a role so minuscule, you'd miss him if you blinked too much. To be honest, I had almost forgotten that the king of slapstick was susceptible to the silver screen. My mistake mind you. My mistake.

Image result for the trustWith a sort of twist ending, a poster that channels Cage's own National Treasure, and a sole release on DVD via the countries of Germany and Sweden, The Trust chronicles Lieutenant Jim Stone (Cage) and Sergeant David Waters (Wood). They seem like a couple of downtrodden, desperate guys. They obviously don't like their jobs, they aren't satisfied financially, and their law enforcement superiors either don't care about their whereabouts or what they are up to. Stone persuades Waters to rob a grocery store safe full of diamonds, cash, and plenty of gold coins. He got the tip from a wealthy drug dealer who is connected to said fortune and subsequently paid a bail receipt for $200,000. The Trust then turns into a heist movie in which Stone and Waters purchase a specific drill and illegal firearms. Cage's character is nonchalant and zany in many of his actions. He even murders a couple of people along the way as if it's entirely nothing.

Now the one thing I thought of when I saw the trailer for "Trust", was how Nic Cage and Elijah Wood would fare as a buddy cop team. Bottom line: Their on-screen chemistry is about as uneven as The Trust itself. You could sometimes tell that they were actually trapped in different films between them. And try as I might, I just can't picture Wood in an adult role. Twenty years have passed and I still see him as a child actor. So sue me. As for "Trust's" direction, well it throws darts at the crime thriller genre. Were the Brewer brothers paying tribute to explosion monger Michael Bay in some of their speedy edits? Definitely. Were they at times, filtering in elements of a bungling, Keystone Cop comedy? Yup. Finally, were Alex and Ben trying to add the notion of a full-fledged drama as well? For sure. Like I said, uneven and to a point, fluctuated.

All in all, I did admire the meticulousness of the safe-cracking sequence in "Trust" (it was effectively long-winded). I also dug the ending which had a startling, mob/gang slant to it. Ultimately though, The Trust gets a strong, mixed review from me. It's not quite "worthy" enough. Natch! Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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