The Trouble Image

The Trouble

By Alan Ng | January 4, 2020

The Trouble is not a perfect movie, but if you overlook its obvious shortcomings, it becomes an engaging and thriller. Filmmakers Zef Cota and co-writer Mark Marini has enough exciting elements that work, that if they could have shored up the weaknesses, would have made a solid film. So here’s to their next project.

Starting with its shortcomings, the obvious is the acting and its desperate need for rehearsal, as indicated by actors reciting lines versus having dialogue feel natural coming. Also, movement by characters, especially in a crime drama, needed to be staged ahead of time rather than feel like they were improvised on the day. Simple things, like sitting on barstools or walking down the hallway, needed to be staged better and rehearsed. This would have led to better and more interesting cinematography in the end.

“…its robust foundational story manages to outshine the film’s glaring weaknesses.”

There’s also one big storytelling logic problem. The entire story is told in voiceover narration by Billy’s buddy Gregg, who only physically appears at the start and end of the film. He also provides information that he could not have known as his character was in a different state. On top of that, the film breaks into four separate stories told from Billy, Enzo, Marisol, and Pit’s perspective, which is unnecessarily mixing storytelling devices. The best thing would have been to possibly add a Gregg story and make each story, narrated by the character featured character, which is exactly what happens during Pit’s tale.

Enough negative criticism. Where The Trouble really works is its overall story. When I look back at the action that unfolds, we have an engaging thriller that has enough plot twists, sympathetic characters, and intrigue to get us to the end.

What also surprisingly worked is the film’s underlying structure broken into four separate stories giving us shifting points-of-view of the same scenes. This is also hard to pull off, as I have seen this idea fail many times. Fortunately for The Trouble, its robust foundational story manages to outshine the film’s glaring weaknesses.

Cota and Marini’s The Trouble is an excellent effort in the crime drama genre and worthy of a recommendation. I point this out because they have an excellent talent to tell a story, and with more energy in composing shots and working with actors are well on their way to bigger and better films. With a little patience, you’re going to have a lot of fun with The Trouble.

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

"…" 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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