Mixing both comedy and western, Trouble features a whole lot of funny in this contemporary family feud.
Ben (Bill Pullman) and Maggie (Anjelica Houston) are a pair of siblings living in Vermont. Maggie still lives on the family farm that they grew up on. When she discovers Ben with a bulldozer one day, stakes heighten beyond belief. They’ve made it beyond clear that they don’t like each other. Don’t shed any tears for this dysfunctional family just yet. While Ben may have sold his interest in the family land to Maggie some time before the start of the film, he’s hoping to build a house. This doesn’t sit will with Maggie. Not in the slightest!
How bad can it possibly get? Ben gets Rachel (Julia Stiles), a friend working for the Bureau of Land Management, involving by falsifying sale records. A government cover-up?!? Can you believe that anyone working for the government would allow something like this to happen? Looks around–yeah, probably. Whatever the reasons, this act of government intrusion enables Ben to not only get his share of the property back. Don’t question the lack of legality here and just go with it. It’s what writer-director Theresa Rebeck would want. This film is best watched by suspending our disbelief while watching this feud heighten to new levels on screen.
The forecast calls for a chance of gun shots when Maggie outright shoots her brother, Ben. She’s upset because he would rather sell their family’s land to developers than keep it in the family. It doesn’t matter that he’s a family member. It probably should but oh, well. While nobody would blame Maggie for being angry, perhaps she could have turned to peaceful and diplomatic measures.
Clips of Ben and Maggie as young children with their father are interspersed with the present-day footage. There’s some importance to these flashbacks. The flashbacks to a more innocent time shows what the land means to their family. Not only that but it takes us back to a time in which they were not fighting. Oh, what a time to be alive!
Many of us know Rebeck for creating the smash-hit television musical drama, Smash. The series may have been ahead of its time or underappreciated. In any event, the series creator reunites with both Huston and Brian d’Arcy James.
Family feuds are a tale as old as time but Trouble never reaches the levels brought about by the Hatfield and McCoys. While the film does display some violence, Theresa Rebeck gives the feud a sprinkling of comedy. There’s even a spice of the classic Western thrown in. Despite the contemporary rural Vermont setting, Trouble‘s Ben and Maggie would fit in quite well on the set of a Western.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Theresa Rebeck
CAST: Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman, David Morse, Jim Parrack, Brian d’Arcy James, Victor Williams, and Julia Stiles