The Trouble Image

The Trouble

By Alan Ng | January 4, 2020

Indie films always start the race several steps behind their big studio counterparts. With relatively no money for a “name” to be the lead or a large camera crew, all an indie has left is its story and a strong desire to capture it on film…I mean, digitally. Zef Cota’s The Trouble is one such film as it doesn’t catch up to you until about 10 or 15 minutes from the start, and then it takes off.

The Trouble is three stories told from three points of view, but mainly it’s about Billy (John Vogel), a geeky nerd who stumbles across online poker to make a living. Soon, in a twist (one that I experienced myself), the poker site is shut down by the government, and Billy’s money is lost. He then resorts to playing actual poker in an underground game. In another stroke of bad luck, the police raid that game, and Billy is accused of tipping the cops by local thug, Enzo (Christian Torres Villalobos). Enzo demands that Billy pays everything back that was lost. I should also mention that here Billy hooks up with Marisol (Maria Desimone), an attractive woman, who’s way out of Billy’s league.

“…Billy says he’ll fix the situation and employs the mysterious muscle-for-hire Pit…”

As a promise to his friend Gregg (Greggory Daniels), Billy says he’ll fix the situation and employs the mysterious muscle-for-hire Pit (Ariot Myrtaj) to dispense with Enzo. But who is this Pit? Word on the street is Pit is a major badass and can take down an entire gang single-handed. To entice him to take the job, Billy has to lie to Pit, saying Enzo kidnapped Marisol.

We then jump to Marisol’s story, which overlaps Billy’s starting a few days before meeting him. Marisol casually meets Enzo on a friend’s night out at a nightclub. The two form a connection, and Marisol promises to meet him again, but on the second date, Enzo is a no show, and this is where she meets and supposedly falls for Billy.

The final story is Pit’s and, with the help of his longtime friend and mentor Gus (Ed King), hopes to figure this nasty plot of deception as everyone surrounding this matter has been lying to him, particularly Billy and Marisol. Pit has to fight a few baddies and engage in a few battles of wit to piece everything together.

The Trouble (2019)

Directed: Zef Cota

Written: Zef Cota, Mark Marini

Starring: John Vogel, Maria Desimone, Christian Torres Villalobos, Ariot Myrtaj, Greggory Daniels, Ed King, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Trouble Image

"…"...an engaging thriller that has enough plot twists, sympathetic characters, and intrigue...""

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  1. Monty Montross says:

    I bought the movie on Amazon and am (or was more) into the big poker scene of the early 2000s–so I never really got into the internet poker playing part– but from the knowledge I do have knew I felt very engaged in this type of film. Obviously it’s a movie but it captures the actual feeling of some of these underground clubs and how drama arises.

    I agree that there are probably some production faults that could have been better prepared (perhaps due to budget ( I do not know the budget of this film FYI)) but this film was obviously written with the intention to go deep into character development as well as leave the mystery of unanswered questions wanting.

    I look forward to more movies made by Zef Cota. He reminds me of the late 1990s early 2000s brick city street vibe which is definitely starting to make a comeback.

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