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DVD Review: The Trust – “Charmingly seemingly semi-improvisational”

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the trust wood cage

The Trust stars Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, Kick-Ass) and Elijah Wood (Sin City, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and is directed by first-timers Alex and Benjamin Brewer. Sky Ferreira (The Green Inferno) also puts in an appearance, as does Ethan Suplee (Mallrats) and the legendary Jerry Lewis is Cage’s dad.

Cage and Wood are Stone and Waters, Las Vegas cops. But this isn’t the Vegas we’re used to seeing on screen. Aerial establishing shots may give a glimpse of the backside of a famous hotel, or a portion of the Stratosphere needle poking into the sky, but that’s as close as The Trust gets to the strip. This isn’t even just the sleazy Vegas we’ve seen in Leaving Las Vegas, or, more recently, in Jason Statham’s Wild CardThe Trust’s Vegas isn’t set in the underbelly so much as the back, sack, and crack of “America’s playground”™.

Likewise, Stone and Waters are no ordinary cops. They suck. And not even in a loveable way. Stone and Waters are not lust schlubby everyman losers, they are self-centred corrupt scuzzy jerks – unconcerned with the well-being of the public they are sworn to protect. That part’s pretty great.

Elijah Wood’s Waters is a recently divorced, skinny stoner with a scrappy beard, who goes in on a robbery with his partner because “I have nothing better to do, and I despise my job”. Nicolas Cage’s Stone is all moustache and aftershave, pulling crazy lines out of thin air that must have driven the script advisor nuts, but exhibiting that trademark particularly peculiar brand of nutty cool that keeps us returning to see just what on earth he will do and say next.

Stone has stumbled across a seemingly easily knock-off-able vault full of money and drugs while on a case, and the pair plan to pinch it and vanish. This film’s first half of character introduction and break-in preparation is funny, offbeat and weird. At times it is charmingly seemingly semi-improvisational, with Stone giving insane pep talks and eating lemon slices doused in hot sauce, while Waters explains that a gap on the map he has drawn isn’t a door but due to a bee flying into his face.

It is a shame then that the robbery happens, as this is where the fun seems to drain out of the film. Seeing these two in the world, failing, and interacting poorly with the populous, is the source of the first half’s kicks – so when it is just them committing the robbery, with no “normal” people to bounce off, the zing has gone. There are a couple of chucklesome exchanges still, but no fuss or verve, and the whole thing just sort of fades into the background.

The disc itself is decent but basic. There is stereo and 5.1 audio available, and the 5.1 is a nice and loud spritely mix. There is a single extra – a Behind the Scenes – and the video quality of the feature is good. I received the standard def DVD, and found the encode fine with a handle on colour, and even the most detailed shots not exhibiting any noticeable macroblocking or other artefacts.

Cage fans will enjoy a typically kooky performance, and Wood’s extremely tough battle to keep a straight face versus this is enjoyable, but while The Trust may begin well and fun, it soon tires once the break-in begins.

2.5-out-of-5

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