Plot: Roland Drake (Tom Konkle) is a private detective that has fallen into a downward spiral, thanks to a tarnished reputation that has all but made him in a pariah in his chosen field. The lack of work has led to him being evicted from his office, which means things are only going to get worse for Drake. But just before he is kicked out, a beautiful woman saunters into his office with a potential case, an heiress who stands to inherit a fortune, but her father has disappeared. Drake takes an interest in both the case and the woman herself, but when she too vanishes, he’s drawn deeper into this mysterious case, when her sister Jennifer (Brittney Powell) shows up. As Drake delves into the clues and follows a trail of danger and betrayal, can he solve the mystery, restore his name, and turn his life around?
Entertainment Value: This self aware love letter to film noir is a fun watch, a movie that is able to balance out budget limitations with a passion for the genre, showing an enthusiasm that is always evident on screen. The narrative is right in the film noir conventions and while the story is predictable at times, the winks to the audience and clear love for the genre more than compensate. You can tell a lot of care went into making sure every scene was infused with that old school film noir DNA, then given some updated twists at times. This is mostly seen in the movie’s sense of humor, which is sometimes over the top, but often pulled off with good skill, to make subtle, but effective comedic bursts. I didn’t even mind the more blunt instances of humor really, as even those were done with an appreciation for the genre, while not veering off the formula too much. I do think the pace is a little slow at times and the visual effects aren’t great, but those are minor issues overall here. I think given the indie nature of the shoot, the green screen work is fine, if obvious, but even major studio movies seem to be skimping in that area, so its hard to knock Trouble Is My Business. I was impressed by the attention to detail and craftsmanship of this one, while also being entertained the entire time, so this movie earns a solid recommendation.
I think the cast is one of the main reasons the movie works so well, as most of the performers are energetic and seem to connect with the concept, which leads to some fun, knowing efforts. I think this could have been a tough balance, to stay within that film noir structure, but get in some winks and nudges to the audience, so seeing it done right by most of the cast is impressive. Tom Konkle has the lead role and he is able to more or less the set the tone here, bolstered by his presence as director and co-writer as well, which means he knew the vision he wanted to create. He is fun to watch and makes a more than capable lead, especially when he shares the screen with Brittney Powell, who was also a co-writer on Trouble Is My Business. The two have good chemistry and run with the film noir vibes, which makes those sequences quite entertaining and some of the movie’s best. Powell is able to evoke some classic femme fatale energy, which is just the material needed from her. Vernon Wells is also here and supplies some star power, as well as a rock solid performance. The cast also includes Jordana Capra, David Beeler, Ben Pace, and Steve Tom.