All it takes is one screw-up to ruin your reputation. And as Trouble Is My Business, (no relation to the Raymond Chandler story), opens private eye Roland Drake (Tom Konkle, Fauxcumentary, City on Fire) is learning that the hard way. His last case not only went badly it went so badly that it made the headlines.
He’s just been served with an eviction notice when hope, in the form of Katherine Montemar (Brittney Powell, Devils Inside, The Unborn II) walks through the door. She not only hires him to find her missing father, she also beds him. Then he wakes up the next morning to find her gone and the bed bloodstained.
Trouble is my Business goes on to deliver a plot that involves an incredibly valuable, and allegedly cursed, diamond that has everyone chasing it, much like The Maltese Falcon. An assortment of shady characters, including Detective Barry Tate (Vernon Wells, Commando, Of the Devil) and Evelyn Montemar (Jordana Capra, Hired to Kill, After Midnight) the mother of Katherine and Jennifer.
Apart from starring, Tom Konkle also directed Trouble Is My Business and co-wrote it with Brittney Powell who has the dual role of Katherine and her sister Jennifer. The pair have crafted something we don’t often see these days, a fairly authentic piece of Film Noir. We get plenty of neo-noir such as Chinatown, Brick, and The Last Victim. And science fiction noir. like Blade Runner and its sequel as well as The Tangle has become its own genre as well.
But Trouble Is My Business is a throwback to the originals, set in the 1940s and filled with flippant tough guy dialogue and populated with crooked cops and Femme Fatales. It’s even filmed in black and white, although there is a colour version too depending on where you watch it. And for the record, I watched the black and white version on YouTube.
And in black and white, Trouble Is My Business does look a lot like the films that inspired it, especially during interior scenes. The set design and costumes are well done, and the cinematography catches the look, right down to the shadows from the blinds that have become a cliche in the detective genre.
The problems arise when the film ventures outdoors and has to rely on CGI and/or green screen to recreate vistas of Los Angeles as it looked eighty years ago. This rarely works well in a modestly budgeted film and unfortunately, this is no exception. Thankfully this is a genre that is centered around interiors and doesn’t go outdoors often which minimizes the damage.
The other problem I had with Trouble Is My Business is the length. Most of the genre’s best films ran around ninety minutes. This runs just under two hours and could use some trimming as it does drag in spots Like a horror film with too many fake endings, there are a couple of twists that could have been disposed of as well as excessive dialogue that could be trimmed.
But don’t let that put you off, especially if you are a Film Noir fan. Trouble Is My Business has a nice, twisty mystery that will keep you following along as everyone crosses each other and the bodies start to pile up. There are also plenty of solid performances from a cast full of performers whose faces will be familiar even if their names aren’t. As I said before, it’s rare to see a new noir in the classic style, and this deserves to be seen, and in black and white if possible.
Trouble is my Business is available on Blu-ray as well as Digital platforms. You can find more information on the film’s website. And if you’re looking for more of the same kind of film, FilmTagger has some suggestions.