Argument comedies have been enjoying increasing popularity in recent years and anyone who has even partially internalized the dynamics within such a film can only do so much wrong here. But director Theresa Rebeck proves it TROUBLEthat it is very possible. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
They are already in their 60s, and yet they behave like kindergarten children: siblings Maggie (Anjelica Huston) and Ben (Bill Pullman) are in a constant, heated feud with each other, which reaches a new height one morning: with a small excavator He digs up Maggie’s property without being asked, which annoys the loner. When she calls the police, Ben doesn’t let her intimidate her because he is firmly convinced that he has a right to the property. Without further ado, Maggie resorts to harsher measures to drive her brother away. But this only causes more hustle and bustle…
Movie explanation of the ending
There are films whose genre is so obvious that it requires no explanation. “Die Hard” is of course an action film, “12 Noon” is of course a western and probably no one would want to deny “The Exorcist” its status as a horror film. Other films are harder to categorize because they fit into multiple categories. Is The Sixth Sense a horror film or a supernatural drama? And is “Inception” more like science fiction, a thriller or a heist movie? Still other films show the limits of genre thinking, not by being too complex or varied for the usual pigeonholes, but by lacking the impact of their genre. “Slender Man,” for example, looks like a horror film, sounds like a horror film, but is so sparse and devoid of horror that this genre name borders on pure wishful thinking on the part of the filmmakers. The situation is similar with Theresa Rebeck’s “Trouble”: The film follows the style of a comedy and, moreover, the excited character drawing of this small-town sibling squabble seems as if you were watching a copycat film copied from the Coen brothers. However, there are so few punch lines that the correct label for this film should be “sleeping pill”. Among other things, the narrative style slows down the fun factor in “Trouble” – and this problem becomes apparent in the very first minutes of the film:
Rachel (Julia Stiles) tries to talk to Ben (Bill Pullman).
At the beginning of this comedy, freed from wit, we see Maggie storming angrily towards a man in the excavator, whom she insults. Then she goes to the police, explains that the guy “looks pretty good for an asshole,” then the police officer talks to the troublemaker in a relaxed manner and only then then we find out that he is Maggie’s brother Ben. So Rebeck doesn’t ensure the laughter that comes from a bizarre situation, but rather ensures that we sit in the cinema with question marks over our heads and ask ourselves whether we missed something. But it doesn’t stop there. Such tangled moments accumulate in “Trouble” and several times nip potential punchlines in the bud. It is not for nothing that one of the most important elements in comedy is surprise, but because Theresa Rebeck confusingly entangles the punch line and the lead-in, this device is completely lost. In a clever deconstruction of the comedy genre, this may have its own humor, but Trouble is far too simplistic for such ambitions. And when a dramatic revelation about Maggie and Ben’s family occurs about halfway through the film, it doesn’t really catch the eye, as it’s conveyed in just as casual and confused a manner as the initial clarification of the character constellation. The characterization is also unclear: all of the characters involved in the action are so poorly defined in their actions that they cannot surprise you at all, since they do not raise any expectations that can be broken.
This is partly due to the sleepy playing of most of the ensemble members, who mumble their lines with a stiff face or (in the case of Bill Pullmann) sometimes shout with a stony expression. In addition, both the acting and the editing repeatedly create “dead moments”, moments in which the characters remain silent in the middle of a conversation, as if Rebeck were leaving pauses so that the thunderous laughter in the cinema can die down before it becomes part of the text continues. But the confused script, which moves from tax debts and deforestation rights to murderous thoughts and back to childish brawls, also contributes a massive part to the paralyzing picture that Rebeck paints of her provincial clique. So if the narrative style is neither clever nor a level of difficulty constructed that Theresa Rebeck would be able to subvert – then what are we supposed to smile about in “Trouble”, let alone laugh about? In any case, it’s not slapstick, because whenever Bill Pullman (“The Equalizer 2”) As he stumbles and stumbles across the screen, Rebeck forces it into such brittle images that any timing of this physical comedy is lost. Rebeck also occasionally tries absurdity – for example, Maggie resorts to armed violence very early on in the quarrel with her brother, which, however, is not even half as lively as it should be due to the sluggish production.
Maggie (Anjelica Houston) doesn’t know what to do.
What works, however, is what follows: the jovial village policeman Logan (Brian d’Arcy James, “Heading for the Moon”) arrests Maggie, but shortly afterwards shuffles to her cell and asks her in a sissy tone if she’s going to shoot someone again. This elicits a beefy “Why should I?” from Maggie, which Angelica Houston utters so dryly that it ignites despite the overwhelming bleakness of this film. Another small handful of such brittle comments also manage to lighten up “Trouble” – it is significant that these sayings only come from tertiary characters. Otherwise, it is Julia Stiles who breathes life into this non-starter of a comedy in just three scenes: The “Jason Bourne” supporting actress makes the rest of the cast look old and plays the kind-hearted dalliance of the dumb and aggressive Curt (Jim Parrack) with full fervor , “Suicide Squad”). Because of her boyfriend, who is in common cause with Maggie’s brother Ben, she is supposed to take advantage of her job at the land management office and rip off Maggie, but she is a very bad liar, which Stiles shows off brilliantly: her nose pulsates, her eyelids tremble and her The corners of her mouth twitch as she squirms and tries to still appear confident. In other scenes, she struggles in a similar way with her sympathy for Logan, which she doesn’t want to show, even though it’s clearly written on her face. This makes her role the only likeable character in the entire film – and what’s more, at this point: A face that moves instead of always giving the same expression as if frozen? Cheers, hustle and bustle, merriment! This only happens for a tiny moment in “Trouble”, when Maggie briefly thinks about her actions with tears streaming down her face, and in the massively predictable finale.
Conclusion: A stiffly filmed, cramped scripted nonsense of a comedy: “Trouble” is one of the worst films of the year despite its star power.
“Trouble” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from December 20, 2018.