WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
You know you're in trouble when the first shot of a crime film shows a bound-and-gagged corpse that blinks its eyes. The wretched genre "thriller" Matter of Trust sins even further in its opening scenes by showing us a beautiful writhing young woman shucking off her clothes . . . for C. Thomas Howell!
Oh Lawd, give this humble reviewer the strength.
After an awkward, expository credit sequence, in which we learn that a serial killer is offing hookers in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood, we see more and more of the reluctantly boyish Howell trying his damnedest to play a hard-boiled alcoholic tough-guy police detective by the subtly symbolic name of Michael D'Angelo. Try as I might, I couldn't buy the portrayal. No matter the bushiness of the goatee, he'll always be a kid actor.
D'Angelo finds himself at the latest murder scene but screws things up thanks to a wicked, overplayed hangover. Soon he's embroiled in a nasty little mystery involving sperm and strip joints and sadomasochism. D'Angelo's ex is Theresa, played by the still fine-looking Joan Severance, and I couldn't shake the feeling that Howell would be more believable playing Severance's kid. Anyway, Theresa just happens to be the assistant district attorney, with whom the killer has a special telephone relationship.
Matter of Trust is one of those movies that never feels like a story unfolding so much as a bunch of third-tier actors horsing around with a camera. Frankly, I was hoping for more softcore sleaze, given the nudity of the film's opening, but the atmospheric sensuality dries up pretty quickly.
HOW'S IT LOOK?
USA Home Entertainment presents Matter of Trust in a full-frame transfer of the film's original 1.33:1 home-video presentation. Detail is more than adequate for the content, and colors seem reasonably accurate.
HOW'S IT SOUND?
The DVD includes only a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, but it's fairly engaging nevertheless. Dialog is accurate and clean, save for a few instances of distortion at the top end.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
Not a damned thing.
WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?
Matter of Trust is at about the level of a Skinemax "erotic thriller," minus most of the good bits. Take a pass on this one.