Los Angeles in 1947, 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, while corrupt cops rule the underworld of the city and moral lines are anything but black and white. A dark, hard-boiled tale of love and betrayal, told in the classic style of film noir. Drake has fallen on hard times in a harsh world. He has been evicted from his office and disgraced by a missing persons case. 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. The owner of those curves is a sexy, dark haired beauty named Katherine Montemar. She wants his help. The chemistry is immediate and her concern for the disappearance of her family members pulls him into her case - and into bed. He wakes up to her missing too, and a pool of blood where she used to be. After a nervous encounter with the equally ...Written by
The film is made as a genre thriller for the same reasons that studios made film noir in the 1940's and 1950's but with an updated spin on the twisted character traits and style of classic hard-boiled literature, pulps and film noir. The director, Thomas Konkle, wanted to make something that was a homage to the films Out of The Past, The Big Combo and The Maltese Falcon in the same way that Raiders of the Lost Ark was a nod to the serials that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg enjoyed. The director of Trouble has studied filmmaking and acting and used his technical abilities and understanding of what actors needed to give their best to make much of what he had to work with in the production. All visual effects were done in house at Lumen Actus. See more »
It's interesting how stories stick with you.
This one stuck with me for days.
The story is a classic noir setup. Gumshoe down on his luck meets a pretty brunette at his office, sleeps with her, wakes up to blood in his bed but no body, and gets visited by the brunette's blonde sister wielding a gun, wondering what happened to her sister. It gets messier from here, as is the norm with noir. In noir, the story was never simple, even if the sets were.
The gumshoe Roland Drake is a Marlowe-esque character and you feel for him and his predicament. He's had a string of unfortunate things happen and while he has certainly retained his sarcasm, his failure to write his own happy ending makes him melancholy. He obviously still longs for that happy ending, which is why he falls hard for the blonde, despite having misgivings about the case and the blonde's weird family.
There are some laughs and there is some violence and there's certainly drama, but in my mind this is ultimately a story of romance, albeit not a typical one. To me this is mostly a story of the gumshoe's struggle between his romanticism and the cynicism brought on by his experience. In the end, one must prevail.
The struggle of romanticism vs cynicism is timeless and that's the part that always gets to me, and as a result I keep thinking back to this story and my empathy buttons keep getting pushed. There are some really loathsome characters in this story, and while they can't be excused, some of the villainous actions could be seen as reactionary, or at the very least inescapable. The parable of the frog and the scorpion comes to mind.
The acting was solid throughout. Some familiar faces as well, if not big names. Steve Tom got a lot of laughs from me (he's one of those guys I keep seeing everywhere). I haven't actually seen Vernon Wells in anything since The Road Warrior, despite his lengthy resume, but it was fun to see him gleefully chew up all the scenery, both real and virtual. Which brings me to the production values.
I knew going in that this was going to be a low budget indie so I knew I wasn't expecting The Avengers level production values. But what these guys pulled off on a shoestring budget and a tiny crew is pretty amazing. From what I've seen practically every scene in this film features a virtual set or set extensions of some kind. Which is understandable given the 1940s setting, but mind blowing given the small budget. I can't imagine it being easy to pull off a period piece where a large city like Los Angeles is the primary backdrop, without having tens of millions of dollars just for the production design and visual effects.
Is this a perfect film? Of course not. No film is. But it is entertaining and the story stuck with me. What more can I ask for?
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