Producer: David Beeler and Brittney Powell
Executive Producer: Michael J. Smith and Thomas Konkle
Production Design: Reed Johns
Director of Photography: Jesse Arnold and PJ Gaynard
Music: Thomas Chase and Hayden Clement
Editing: Thomas Konkle and Michael J. Smith
Costume Design: Eric Shane Johnson and Chantal Filson
When it comes to movie heroes there are two archetypal characters that I feel would perfectly fit my own natural charismatic and heroic persona. The first would be a Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead type person……… brave, fearless yet vulnerable, but someone who instills devotion, loyalty and a feeling that with him they’d be safe from whatever the Zombie apocalypse could throw at them….. well, except for the small fact that the majority of people around him usually er, die……so maybe we’ll move on past that example.
The second hero-type that captures the very essence of me would be a character from nearly every film noir that has ever been made – no, I’m not talking about the gal who arrived in LA with dreams of silver-screen stardom but instead found herself becoming fallen hooker with a heart of gold (though I suppose if the money to play the role was good enough I may reconsider……..). I’m of course talking about the hard-boiled, world-weary cop who is heroic, irresistible to women, brave, loyal and yes, with a heart of gold. Yep, definitely me.
If I was to be serious for a moment, I would have to readily admit that the Film Noir genre is perhaps one of my favourite areas of cinema and literature – though actually defining the genre and what is a ‘typical’ representation in film seems to open all variations of cans of worm online, so I’ll just use my own examples; The Big Sleep , The Maltese Falcon , Touch of Evil , The Third Man, Chinatown, Blood Simple, L.A Confidential & many more….. all simply wonderful examples of filming complete with cool hats, smart suites, guns, dames and corrupt coppers galore!
So of course you could imagine my delight when a short time ago I received a super-secret online screener for a modern-day homage to the classic film noir stable. In truth Trouble is my business had found its way onto the 5D radar some time ago when I was lucky enough to talk with iconic actor Vernon Wells, he of Commando, Weird Science, Mad Max: Road Warrior et al fame, who had told me that he was playing a juicy corrupt cop in a classic noir film. It’s safe to say that Vernon was rather excited about what had been filmed as he extolled in distinctly glowing terms about this wonderful noir film that he was very proud to have worked in. If you wish to see what Mr Wells had to say on the 5D YouTube channel then you can check out the man’s words of wisdom RIGHT HERE.
So let’s have a little peek at a synopsis type thing to see why Vernon Wells was so excited about Trouble is my Business.
Corrupt cops rule the world of 1947 Los Angeles, everything should be sunny, but the smog creates a fog, a haze that permeates not just the lungs, but the psyches.
Private eye Roland Drake cracks cases and romances femme fatales in 1940’s Los Angeles while corrupt cops rule the underworld of the city and moral lines are anything but black and white……..Drake has fallen on hard times in a harsh world. ……… Ruined in the public eye and with the police. it seems like it’s all over for Roland Drake.
Then, redemption walks in – with curves……….. Dogged by the corrupt police in the form of Detective Tate, Drake must navigate a sinister world of lies, betrayal, and murder with the menagerie of seedy characters……..Drake might not be able to tell right from wrong anymore in a doomed love story, which could destroy him…….
Trouble is my Business is obviously something of a love letter to film noir from writers Thomas Konkle & Brittney Powell in the way they have crafted a very fine interpretation of the genre. For a start the movie looks wonderful, and at times distinctly incredible, in the use of backdrops and overall colour texture providing an array of scenes that are quite simply visually lovely. And while I’m no expert on 1940’s LA fashion (I missed that class at college) the feel and authenticity of the period costumes seem suitably precise…..and I’m not just talking about the dresses that Brittney Powell wears (has it become suddenly warm in here?…….).
One aspect that occasionally lets down some independent film-making is the quality of acting, however here we have few problems in that respect; Konkle portrays a suitably correct mixture of charm, humour and world-weariness in the lead role and of course my mate Vernon Wells is his usual excellent self as the dastardly Detective Tate (yes, he IS my mate – we’ve spoken twice now in my life and that makes him now one of my BFF’s…..whether he likes it or not). It also goes without saying that no self-respecting film noir could be without a drop dead (sic) gorgeous femme-fetale, so let’s just say that Brittney Powell not only rocks the period costume, but she more than holds her own in terms of assured acting alongside the rest of the cast throughout the film. The dialogue too is spot on and only very rarely drifts from affectionate homage to parody as the wordplay between the characters sparkles throughout with a one mix of humour and biting exchanges.
The one slightly negative aspect of Trouble Is My Business is the running time of two hours which results is a final act that could have benefitted from a more streamlined approach as I found myself occasionally having to backtrack in order to keep up with all the twists and turns. Yes the great examples of film noir will indeed throw a number of plot curve balls at the audience, just a few less here would have tightened up the final act. Having said that, this is but a minor complaint and doesn’t detract from what is a hugely enjoyable movie experience.
It’s safe to say that Trouble is my Business is in no way re-writing the folklore of film noir, there isn’t too much new on show here in terms of themes and narrative. However I very much doubt that re-inventing the genre was ever the intention of writers Thomas Konkle & Brittney Powell, as I said earlier this is most definitely a loving homage to a genre of film that has captivated audiences for most of the 20th (and hopefully 21st) century. If the intention was to produce an enjoyable slice of authentic and exciting film noir, well lets just say that they have succeeded.
But don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the trailer to see what I mean…… https://vimeo.com/252439168
You can find out much more about Trouble is my Business at the following links;
BTW, 5D now also has a YouTube channel which includes conversations with actors, directors & assorted luminaries from the world of Sci-fi, fantasy & horror. The channel also includes the 5D Podcast and competitions – You can find it (& maybe subscribe if you feel so inclined) at