The Trust

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Trust Movie Poster Image
Tepid heist film is violent but totally lacks tension.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 99 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Good planning and teamwork are key to successfully accomplishing any challenging task ... even illegally breaking into an ultra-secure vault.

Positive Role Models & Representations

When the two main characters (both cops) go bad, one embraces his dark side and has no compunctions about breaking the law, while the other discovers a strong moral streak and is unwilling to perform some illegal acts. 


Frequent tension and violence, including a brutal home invasion that leaves one man dead, covered in blood. A few unexpected shootings.


Sexual references; one sex scene with close-up shots of a woman's bare breasts. 


Frequent strong language, especially various permutations of "s--t," "f--k," and "ass."


One long sequence revolves around a John Deere tractor.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character smokes pot in several scenes and cigarettes in several others. Scene set in a bar. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Trust is a plodding, formulaic heist film about two Las Vegas cops (Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood) who discover a huge, hidden vault. The film tries to make up for a lack of genuine tension by including some unexpectedly violent moments that may be shocking for young viewers (there are shootings, and a brutal home invasion leaves one man dead, covered in blood). Strong language is frequent but not constant (you'll hear "s--t," "f--k," "ass," and more), and a sex scene features shots of a woman's bare breasts. One character smokes both pot and cigarettes frequently. 

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What's the story?

Stone (Nicolas Cage) and Waters (Elijah Wood) are mid-level Las Vegas police officer who don't exactly love their jobs. So when they stumble on a secret vault hidden inside an abandoned store, they're presented with a choice: Report it to the department, or plan a heist. They opt for the latter in THE TRUST, a plodding caper film that follows the two semi-bumbling, quasi-crooked cops as they figure out how to break into the safe. 

Is it any good?

You may not want to put your trust -- that you'll be entertained, that is -- in The Trust. Here's why not: It severely lacks the kind of character development that would give you a reason to root for the two would-be thieves; tension as the heist unfolds; chemistry between the characters; and any sense of what it's trying to say. Do we want the leads to get away with their caper? Are they in any danger? What happens once the job is complete? The film doesn't address any of this, making it difficult for viewers to feel invested in the story.

Stone is first presented as a a mid-career hack who goes by the book, much to the irritation of his fellow officers. So it comes a a surprise when he decides to go rogue, and we're never presented with any justification for his decision. His partner, Waters, is a sad-sack stoner who seems willing to cut any corner, so it doesn't quite fit that he'd be willing to go the extra mile to pull off this job. In fact, pretty much none of this makes sense, right up to the very end -- which features a surprise twist that destroys any possible sense of empathy just as viewers might be starting to feel something positive for one of characters. Oh, and Jerry Lewis appears briefly, too, for some reason that (surprise!) is never explained. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about heist films. What makes for a good heist movie? How does The Trust compare to some of the greats of the genre?

  • Talk about the movie's violence. What role does it play in the story? Do you think it's all necessary to the plot? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Why do you think Stone and Waters decide to pull off the caper? Does the film do a good job of showing what motivates them? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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