Trouble Is My Business


Roland Drake, a Private Investigator is trying to untangle a mystery that’s only landing him in deeper trouble, in an adventure that ticks all the boxes of classic film noir: seductive femme fatales, corrupt cops, a weary PI, troublesome thugs, and dames.


In the realm of neo-noir cinema, “Trouble Is My Business” stands out as a captivating addition to the genre. This American film takes audiences on a thrilling journey through the gritty streets of Los Angeles, where mystery, danger, and deception lurk around every corner.



The film takes place in 1947 in Los Angeles, where private detective Roland Drake is hired by a wealthy socialite to investigate the disappearance of her father. What follows is a thrilling adventure full of twists and turns, where Drake finds himself unraveling a web of deceit and danger.

Trouble Is My Business” is an independent noir-inspired crime thriller film released in 2018 with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes directed by Tom Konkle, starring Vernon Wells (MacGyver, Commando, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior) as Gallo, Brittney Powell as Katherine and her sister Jennifer, and Tom Konkle as Roland Drake.



The title is borrowed from Raymond Chandler, but the twisty little mystery is developed and scripted by Tom Konkle and co-star Brittney Powell into an original as convoluted as anything from the 1940s. The film had multiple sources of financing including self-financing and crowdfunding for the first 15 minutes of the film which took 5 to 6 days to complete. The remaining of the film was done in 17 days. The film was produced by Lumen Actus and can be viewed in color or in black & white.



The original objective was to make it in black & white. Every shot was mapped to show it in black & white because it demands control of shapes and lights. The streaming services rejected the Black and White version, some thought it was an old film. So, Tom had to make the color version even though what he wanted was just the black & white version.

The films have a striking film noir aesthetic with an enjoyable jazzy score. The filmmakers use black and white cinematography, classic cars, and fedoras to create a period-specific look reminiscent of classic detective films from the 1940s and 50s.


Trouble Is My Business
“I remember if it’s important, that’s my business” — Roland Drake


The film also has a distinct sense of humor that is balanced with the serious nature of the plot, making for an entertaining and engaging experience. With its stylish cinematography, atmospheric soundtrack, and noir-inspired dialogue, the film effectively captures the essence of classic detective noir while adding a modern twist that is still faithful to the noir genre.



The story begins when a mysterious woman, a femme fatale, named Katherine Montemar hires Drake to find her missing father. As Drake delves deeper into the case, he discovers a connection to a valuable diamond, the Orlov Diamond. Along the way, he crosses paths with Jennifer Montemar, mobsters, corrupt cops, and other dangerous characters.

As Drake navigates the treacherous underworld of Los Angeles, he unravels a conspiracy involving stolen identities, double-crosses, and a plot to acquire the diamond. Add to the mix a little black book that contains all the information about the corrupted cops. Alongside his loyal partner, Jennifer Montemar’s former fiancé, Drake confronts his own past demons and struggles to stay one step ahead of the ruthless forces working against him.

Throughout the film, Drake encounters numerous obstacles and dangers, including shootouts, car chases, and close calls. As the mystery deepens, he uncovers shocking revelations about the true identities and motivations of those involved. In the end, Drake must use all of his cunning and resourcefulness to solve the case and uncover the truth behind the disappearance of Katherine Montemar.


Trouble Is My Business
“Well, I can’t say no to a lady.” — Roland Drake



Trouble Is My Business explores several themes that are characteristic of the film noir genre, as well as some contemporary elements. Some of the prominent themes include:



Throughout the film, the characters navigate a world filled with deception and betrayal. They often find themselves unsure of whom they can trust, as alliances shift and hidden agendas are revealed. This theme underscores the murky morality of the noir world.



The protagonist, Roland Drake, grapples with his demons and past mistakes. His obsession with solving the case at hand becomes a quest for redemption, as he seeks to make amends for his past failures and find justice for those he cares about.



The film portrays a world where power and corruption go hand in hand. Characters in positions of authority often abuse their power for personal gain, while those who challenge the status quo risk facing dire consequences. This theme reflects the pervasive influence of corruption in society.



Many characters in the film struggle with issues of identity and self-discovery. They are forced to confront their shortcomings and flaws, leading to moments of introspection and self-reflection. This theme adds depth to the characters and highlights their inner conflicts.



As is typical of film noir, “Trouble Is My Business” explores themes of fatalism and moral ambiguity. The characters are often faced with difficult choices, where the line between right and wrong is blurred. This sense of moral ambiguity adds to the film’s suspense and tension.

These themes contribute to the rich and complex narrative of “Trouble Is My Business,” enhancing its portrayal of the dark and gritty world of noir while also adding contemporary relevance.


Trouble Is My Business
“Just because you read accusations in the newspaper doesn’t make them true.” — Jennifer Montemar



I watched the black and white version of “Trouble Is My Business” on Tom Konkle’s YouTube channel for free. One of the standout features of the film is its strong ensemble cast, with notable performances from Vernon Wells, Brittney Powell, and Steve Tom. Each main actor brings depth and complexity to their roles, adding layers of intrigue to the story. However, some supporting characters fell short.



Konkle’s portrayal of Roland Drake, the classic noir detective, is decent, although he sometimes comes across as a bit odd. While I envisioned Drake as a mix of private detective Eddie Valiant from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and Dick Tracy, he didn’t quite reach their level. Still, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film.



The scenes between Tom and Brittney are particularly engaging, and the well-choreographed fight scenes are commendable. The romance and action sequences are in line with the 1940s style. Despite this, some dialogue-heavy parts felt excessive, pushing the melodrama to levels that weren’t ideal, such as the crossdresser subplot and the murder of Evelyn Montemar.



What I appreciated most about the movie is its simplicity. It stays true to classic film noir tropes, featuring a troubled hero, a femme fatale, and corrupt cops. While the pacing and delivery weren’t perfect, I found myself captivated by the film. In an industry often lacking in creativity and respect for the genre, audiences crave traditional, entertaining stories from filmmakers who genuinely love cinema and honor its legacy.



Over time, I’ve learned not to rely on mainstream critics for movie recommendations, and it seems many others have reached the same conclusion. Then came the influencers, and after them, the everyday moviegoers. Mainstream critics often receive perks like access, free tickets, and merchandise, which can influence their reviews. Similarly, some influencers may also be swayed by these perks, leading them to echo the opinions of mainstream critics.



The regular users on movie rating sites, that are supposed to represent the general audience, are an interesting bunch. With the internet allowing anyone, including corporations, to create numerous accounts, it’s become more challenging for indecisive viewers to choose a film.

This has pushed people like me who already don’t rely on mainstream critics to conduct our own research before deciding whether to watch a movie or not. The perspectives from influencers, and alternative media can be helpful but I wouldn’t rely too much on them since they can be based too. Once you find the information on the filmmakers, their team, the production process, and the project’s background, you will have a more insightful perspective.



The phenomenon of audience scores is intriguing. Some reviews make you question whether the reviewers watched the film or if they’re fabricating their opinions. It’s also worth noting how people consume movies, especially in an era where many are glued to their phones and have shorter attention spans. This lack of attention may lead to ignorant takes, especially when the viewer is unfamiliar with classic film noir, probably believing it began with “Sin City” (2005).

In the end, we should make our own decisions. I’ve heard many influencers say they are tired of remakes, sequels, and franchises and want new content but they don’t support it when it’s out there. I’m not sure if they expect blockbusters and new franchises on the first try. If so, they are going to be disappointed.


Trouble Is My Business
“I knew you were trouble, but then, trouble is my business” — Roland Drake



Support independent filmmakers and encourage them to explore new ideas, even if their films aren’t perfect. It’s puzzling why American alternative pop-culture news media often focuses on blockbuster movies they dislike while overlooking independent filmmakers who are trying to make something different.

Despite this, the general audience, particularly after the pandemic, continues to attend movies and support low-budget independent films like “Sound of Freedom” and “The Shift.” This support enables international theatrical distribution, allowing these films to reach audiences worldwide.

Even though streaming has made it easier for foreign filmmakers to share their work, it’s usually the big filmmakers in the country that get the space on the big streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Some small independent filmmakers may get a small window to stream their films but what happens after the window is closed?

They may get a digital release on local streaming platforms. The problem is that some countries have their streaming platforms geographically restricted to the global audience which makes it even more challenging to find certain foreign films. Even though it may seem challenging because in some cases you have to be open to understanding the country’s traditions and culture (and not everyone is capable of doing that), it’s worth it.

Way too much attention is given to films that are disliked and not much attention is given to the alternative.




Trouble Is My Business” is a stylish and entertaining homage to classic film noir filled with action, adventure, crime, drama, mystery & thriller. While it may not reinvent the genre, it certainly holds its own as a worthy addition to the neo-noir canon. Fans of mystery and suspense are sure to find plenty to enjoy in Tom Konkle’s stylish thriller that was heavily influenced by films such as Rumble Fish (1983) and Sin City (2005).

One distinctive and very important attribute of this film is its rewatch-ability which is usually not talked about much about independent films. Films can be highly praised at the first watch but how many people will be watching them again? The film PG-13 rating which makes it easier to share among friends and family. Try a movie marathon with Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Dick Tracy (1990), and Trouble is My Business (2018). For me, it was fun!

The black and white version can be watched on Tom Konkle’s YouTube channel. Also, on his channel, you can find a live watch party and an interview, he talks about genre movies, Vernon Wells, and making films. It’s inspiring to hear the filmmakers talk about their inspirations and their process to make films. To track where you can find the film on streaming, and where to buy the Blu-Ray/DVD, or merchandise check the film link tree As you see, there is no excuse not to check out. Give it a watch!


My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.

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    1. Hi Jim,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed my notes on the film. Indie films often don’t get as much attention as they deserve, so it’s wonderful to hear that it sparked your interest and enthusiasm for supporting independent cinema. If you decide to check out the film, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Try the movie marathon, it was really fun!

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