Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden
Extras: Music Videos, Featurette, Trailer
In the musical documentary "I Trust You to Kill Me, " first-time director Manu Boyer chronicles a few weeks in the life of struggling rock singer Rocco DeLuca and his band The Burden as they trudge through a rocky European tour. Film and TV star Kiefer Sutherland is their unlikely tour manager, leading them through a wintry trip and using his own celebrity whenever possible to get the band noticed. Boyer's video chronicle is uneven, to be sure, but it is an entertaining introduction to this budding group. Visual Entertainment picked up the film for release and has delivered a very nice DVD presentation.
Sharing its name with the band's first album, "I Trust You to Kill Me" is not as hard-edged as the title would have you imagine. It begins, interestingly enough, with a shot of Kiefer Sutherland lying on a bed, feet thrust prominently toward the camera, telling us, "sometimes you have to go through something to find out why you did it." This innocuous opening pretty much lets us know early on the Sutherland will be the primary focus of this documentary. We then cut to a performance of the title song by Rocco DeLuca, and the film shifts back to Sutherland as he gets ready to embark on the European tour. We see him on the set of his TV show "24" and are even treated to an interview with Jon Cassar, one of the show's regular directors.
In Europe, the band runs into the same kind of situations that every struggling band hits in the early stages. A lack of recognition means relatively poor turnouts at gigs. Bars and nightclubs provide inadequate accommodations. Luckily for this band, Kiefer Sutherland is around to bring in some extra publicity. His brief interviews on local radio stations help attract a few audience members. One of the funniest scenes in the movie involves Sutherland walking around Dublin, handing out free tickets to everyone he meets. While many recognize him, they don't immediately believe that he is THE Jack Bauer.
While this is all quite charming, I am miffed to say that I walked away from the film knowing next to nothing about Rocco DeLuca & The Burden. Several musical numbers give us a good sampling of their work, but nothing personal is revealed about them. The majority of their screen time is devoted to showing them party and resort to juvenile antics in the hotel lobbies. Twenty-eight-year-old DeLuca seems like an intriguing person. His vocals are raw and compelling, unleashing an anger and passion that defy his young age. In one interview, he speaks candidly about his parents, neither of whom he has a strong relationship with. Unfortunately, Boyer fails to explore this for more than a few seconds, leaving us wanting desperately to know more about the young man and where his musical inspirations come from.
Instead, most of the attention is given to Sutherland. Make no mistake, the actor provides some remarkable moments on his own, especially given this rather unusual setting. I certainly had no idea Sutherland had any kind of musical aspirations or connections, and his dedication to the band is fascinating to watch. Still, it seems as though Boyer started out wanting to document a struggling band's rise to stardom and quickly lost interest in them at the sight of a more famous personality. It's a shame, too, because there appears to be a rich story behind Rocco DeLuca as well.
Visual Entertainment's anamorphic 1.78:1 print looks very good, especially considering that this was filmed on digital video. There is some grain evident throughout, and occasionally the focus is soft, but all of this is part of the original source and does not reflect poorly on the transfer. At times, the sharpness and contrast are excellent and bring out some very nice detail.
The screener copy I received only featured a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, but the actual DVD also contains a 5.1 mix. Even in the stereo track, the music sounded great, so I have high hopes for the 5.1 track. English subtitles are available.
No special features were included on my screener disc, but look out for a brief featurette, three music videos from the band, and a trailer if you decide to pick this up.
"I Trust You to Kill Me" certainly does not suffer from a lack of interesting subject matter. In one, entertaining feature, we are introduced to a genuinely talented new group and also see a side of Kiefer Sutherland that few of us even knew existed. However, the documentary does not have the depth it needed to be a true revelation. Manu Boyer is more interested in just letting the camera capture the events in front of it rather than delving into his subjects' inner workings. The film serves as a pleasing introduction to Rocco DeLuca & The Burden's music, but we leave the film knowing little more about them than we did at the beginning. For all the work and struggle that they put into their tour, Manu Boyer fails to do them justice.