Nicolas Cage is nothing if not a strange bird. In the year 2016, he’s less of an actor and more of a walking, talking human meme with a truly bizarre acting method, not to mention his less than stellar reputation for his selection of movies. At the time of writing, this is the first of six movies he’s due to appear in 2016 and he seems to be starting off on a high note with The Trust; a paint by numbers but nonetheless well-played heist thriller directed by the sibling team of Alex and Ben Brewer.
Cage plays Jim Stone, a disillusioned and down on his luck police officer working in the evidence room. Who has a mild friendship with fellow officer David Waters (Elijah Wood), whose just as down on his luck trying his best to numb himself after a break up with his wife.
When Stone discovers that there’s a high bail for a drug dealer the two saw get busted, he starts to searching for the source of the money. Together with Waters they do a little digging and, after some very shady police work, the two plan to rob a hidden vault built into the back of a grocery store. Of course, it isn’t long before things start to go wrong.
The story is an entertaining one but with its twist and turns do sometimes make the movie hard to follow. At the beginning of the movie, the film seems to portray both of the protagonists as two bored cop who hate their jobs and behind the back of the entire station, are bravely attempting to take down the drug dealers. However as the movie goes on, it starts to become clear that their motivation is less than noble and that they’re looking to steal from the drug dealers rather than bring them to justice. The motivations aren’t clear from the outset and it’s never made clear why they’d take such a big risk and put their careers on the line for a simple score.
Though the set-up isn’t anything new, at least for those of us that have seen any of the “Ocean” movies, what makes this movie stand out is Cage’s typically strange performance. It’s hard to know how much of these quirks were written into the script for his character and what he came up with on the spot. For instance, in one of the very first scenes when Cage meets Wood’s character at a bar to tell him his plans, for reasons never explained, he orders a single lemon slice covered in Tabasco while messaging Woods. At first, these quirks are amusing, but as the movie goes on and things start going awry, his odd behaviour becomes a lot more intimidating. He shifts from slightly goofy cop to total sociopath at the drop of a hat totally changing the tone of the movie with a slight inflexion of a line or a change in demeanour. It seems to be a trait Cage is best at while Woods more than holds his own working as the perfect foil for Cage’s insanity to bounce off of. If you don’t think about it too hard, the movie is a lot of fun and especially with Cage’s typically bizarre performance, it’s easy to see why.
On general release now.