Musicians and actors have long drifted into and out of one another's lives -- the glare of Hollywood lights mingle with the intense heat of the nightclub spotlight, sometimes with good results (Kris Kristofferson has bounced between Tinseltown and the music industry successfully for decades) and sometimes with not-so-good results (30 Seconds to Mars, anyone?). I Trust You to Kill Me is a documentary with a few things on its mind, following "24" actor Kiefer Sutherland around Europe for a couple weeks as he serves as tour manager for up-and-coming Los Angeles rock band Rocco DeLuca and the Burden, whose professional lives are also detailed, but with an almost detached air.
After wrapping up filming on the fifth season of "24," Sutherland and his musical proteges packed up and jetted off for a series of dates in Europe over the Christmas holiday. From drunken parties that end with Sutherland tackling a Christmas tree to tense moments during soundchecks, I Trust You to Kill Me (the title stems from a DeLuca song) tags along, offering a surprisingly intimate, if not particularly revelatory, portrait of two men -- Sutherland and DeLuca -- who exist at very different points on the artistry spectrum. Sutherland, particularly in the latter half of the film, tends to dominate the narrative and shove aside the story about the band to deal with himself and his own personal issues. One question I found myself asking throughout the film was: Would anyone care about the band if it weren't associated with Sutherland? By the film's conclusion, I'm fairly sure the band made the right decision in firing Sutherland as its tour manager; the focus was no longer on their music, but on the man who helped bring it to the world's attention.
With all of these meaty narrative possibilities, it's disappointing that I Trust You to Kill Me is as lightweight as it is; director Manu Boyer flits between color and black and white in an effort to apply an arty gloss to the proceedings, but what he needs to do is ask more penetrating questions of his subjects than "Why are you letting me film you?" Clearly, neither Sutherland nor DeLuca are men who open themselves up willingly (save for a few last minute confessions from Sutherland) so the fact that they're participating in your film is a great opportunity to dig a little deeper, an opportunity regrettably missed here.
One of the blurbs on the DVD case likened this film to the great Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster, which upon closer inspection, is nigh laughable -- the Metallica doc peeled back the layers of celebrity and revealed the wounded, vulnerable men beneath it all. I Trust You to Kill Me is along for the ride, content to bask in the reflected glow of a TV star and plug a project about which he's clearly passionate. It's worth watching to be exposed to Rocco DeLuca and his music, but for little else.
Filmed on digital video and transferred to 35mm, I Trust You to Kill Me looks rough around the edges, but the grimy, often grainy images help sell this look at a rock band on the road -- the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is as clean and sharp as can be expected with source material such as this, but it's certainly not anything you'll reach for to show off your home theater set-up.
Thankfully, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is here, adding some heft and dimension to the bluesy rock of Rocca DeLuca and company; while there's some presence (particularly in the surrounds), the music doesn't pack quite the punch it should. Dialogue is mostly clear, although the more muffled sections helpfully include forced subtitles. A Dolby 2.0 stereo track is included as are optional English subtitles.
I would've loved to hear the director's thoughts on his experience making the film, but alas, there's not much in the way of insight with the provided supplements: a trio of music videos for Rocco DeLuca and the Burden's "Swing Low," "Gravitate" and "Colorful" is presented, as is a 12 minute, 43 second featurette titled "'I Trust You to Kill Me': How It Started - Japan 2005," presented in anamorphic widescreen. The film's theatrical trailer is on board, along with a trailer for The Motel.
One of the blurbs on the DVD case likened this film to the great Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster, which upon closer inspection, is nigh laughable -- the Metallica doc peeled back the layers of celebrity and revealed the wounded, vulnerable men beneath it all. I Trust You to Kill Me is along for the ride, content to bask in the reflected glow of a TV star and plug a project about which he's clearly passionate. It's worth watching to be exposed to Rocco DeLuca and his music, but for little else. Recommended.