Features and Columns · Movies

The Tao of Nicolas Cage: Elijah Wood Puts His ‘Trust’ In Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood are a couple of bumbling Las Vegas cops…
The Trust
By  · Published on August 4th, 2017

Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood are a couple of bumbling Las Vegas cops that stumble upon a hidden vault belonging to a drug dealer. They decide to steal its contents. What could possibly go wrong?

“You’re a positive thinker, and I respect you. And I fucking dig you.”

I first watched The Trust on a plane ride from Boston to St. Louis. I was trying to get back to home to Portland after my flight was cancelled, and what had started as a fun trip turned into a stressful nightmare. I needed something to lift my spirits, and like I often do during a time of need, I turned to Nicolas Cage. Just as he has done on countless occasions in the past, Cage picked me right back up.

Cage stars as Lieutenant Jim Stone and Elijah Wood is Sergeant David Waters. They’re sort of friends, but mostly just co-workers with David reporting to Jim. They both work for the Las Vegas Police Department in Evidence Management. Neither one really likes their job and on most days they actively hate it. It lacks excitement, and they barely make enough money to scrape by.

One day, while rummaging through some paperwork, Jim notices that a particular drug dealer seems to have access to a lot of money. This drug dealer recently made bail by putting up $200,000 in cash. Jim decides to put some of his police work to good use and follow this fellow around to see exactly where the funds are coming from. During this off duty work, Jim learns that the dealer has a vault hidden inside an old industrial freezer. Seeing this as his big opportunity to get out of the rut that is his life, Jim decides he’s going to rob the vault, and he convinces David to do so with him.

Jim devises a plan that seems pretty simple, but as you might image, things go horribly wrong. Oops.

The Trust is a super fun heist movie that I cannot believe has slid this far under the radar. Has anyone besides me seen this? I don’t know, and that’s too bad, because it’s a treat.

Cage gives a stellar performance as Jim that morphs throughout the film. At the start, Jim comes off as a sort of goofy guy that wants to be cool but just can’t help how goofy he is. As the film progresses, a dark side to Jim is revealed. He’s not the nice guy that he appears to be on the surface. He’s troubled, and he will go to great lengths to get inside that vault.

Wood is the perfect balance to Cage. He’s a bit more mild and not nearly as high-strung. As Cage’s character goes further off the deep end, Wood keeps the film together because he reacts the way lots of us probably would if we were put in his position. Would he love to cash in on whatever is in that vault? Absolutely, but he also understands that if you mess with the wrong men there is a price to be paid. And despite hating his job, he did become a cop for a reason, so he’d rather avoid partaking in illegal activities. Unfortunately he may already be in too deep.

Cage and Wood have a number of great scenes together in the film but none greater than the moment when David decides he can’t go through with the plan. Jim may consider David a friend, but he won’t allow that friendship to deter him. This scene is classic Cage. He starts off trying to keep his cool and remain calm, but as the situation unfolds opposite of how he’d like, he just loses it. Wood does a great job hanging in there and taking some Cage intensity straight in the face.

Isn’t that great? I think so. There’s something there between Cage and Wood. Let’s get them in more movies together, please. I think they’d play really well off one another in a screwball comedy, which The Trust displays elements of at times. You could really take this same plot and throw it into something more slapstick. Cage is the brains behind an operation that we all know will fail but he’s convinced that it’s flawless. Wood can play the smarter accomplice that despite his superior smarts is willing to follow Cage into failure because he’s too meek to say no. I’d watch that movie time and time again.

The Trust was directed by a pair of brothers, Ben and Alex Brewer, whose biggest claim to fame is directing a music video short for the Dum Dum Girls. The brothers handle the material quite well, delivering a film that starts off as more of a light-hearted comedy about a heist and eventually spirals into something much darker, taking on a bit a of a Coen brothers-esque vibe at times. You can put Ben and Alex alongside Neveldine and Taylor, David Gordon Green, and Paco Cabezas in that category of directors I’d love to see Cage work with again in the near future.

Also worth noting is that Jerry Lewis makes an appearance in the film as Jim’s father. He’s barely in the film at all, but apparently he appeared in the brief role because Cage wanted him too. They’ve been friends for years, which is fascinating. Maybe Cage should remake The Day the Clown Cried. That would go over well, right?

The Trust isn’t something new and fresh. It checks a lot of the same boxes that most heist films do and that’s ok. Not all movies need to reinvent the wheel. When it comes down to it, what I want most out of a film is for it to be entertaining, and The Trust is very entertaining. At the very least it’s capable of making a terrible travel situation a whole hell of a lot better.

Related Topics: ,

Chris Coffel is a contributor at Film School Rejects. He’s a connoisseur of Christmas horror, a Nic Cage fanatic, and bad at Rocket League. He can be found on Twitter here: @Chris_Coffel. (He/Him)