TROUBLE IN MIND
(director/writer: Alan Rudolph; cinematographer: Toyomichi Kurita; editor: Tom Walls; music: Mark Isham; cast: Kris Kristofferson (John ‘Hawk’ Hawkins), Keith Carradine (Coop), Lori Singer (Georgia), Genevieve Bujold (Wanda), Joe Morton (Solo), Divine (Hilly Blue), Dirk Blocker (Rambo), George Kirby (Lieut. Gunther), John Considine (Nate Nathanson), Albert Hall (Leo), Gailard Sartin (Fat Adolph), Caitlin Ferguson (Spike), Frances Diamond (Diamond); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: R; producers: David Blocker/Carolyn Pfeiffer; Nelson Entertainment; 1985)
“The mystical mood piece is enveloped in a constant mist seemingly emanating from the 1940s.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Alan Randolph (“Choose Me”/”Mortal Thoughts”/”Afterglow”) writes and directs this chic urban film noir melodrama. It has the feel of Jean-Luc Godard’s experimental film noir Alphaville (1965). It was filmed in Seattle. Marianne Faithful sings the title song.
At an undisclosed time in the near future, in the fictional misty town of RainCity, ex-detective Hawk (Kris Kristofferson), pictured as a good guy but one that has no luck, is released from prison after serving eight years for killing a really bad mobster. We learn that Hawk, a former lover of Wanda (Genevieve Bujold), the owner and operator of Wanda’s cafe, committed the murder for her sake. Wanda lets Hawk have an apartment nearby. Hawk soon gets involved in a romantic triangle with the newly arrived sexy but innocent Georgia (Lori Singer), who works as a waitress at the cafe. She lives in a trailer, that Hawk can see from his apartment, with her petty criminal violent partner Coop (Keith Carradine) and her cute baby (Caitlin Ferguson). Coop gets involved with the local silky crime boss Hilly Blue (Divine, female impersonator), which leads to a decline in his appearance (spit curls and earrings) as he continues to get stranger and act more bizarre as time marches on. When the inept Coop and his low-level shady pal Sole (Joe Morton) cross the crime boss and are threatened, Georgia appeals for Hawk to help.
The mystical mood piece is enveloped in a constant mist seemingly emanating from the 1940s, one that could be hiding just about anything it might be trying to say behind such a noir cover. The oddly presented film is preoccupied with creating an eerie atmosphere that overwhelms the viewer with curiosity more than it tries to do anything else. Its slick surreal setting gives an appeal to mobsters, GIs, diner patrons, philosophers and questionable lovers, who in different ways question their life, their relationships and the meaning of life. It’s an unfulfilling but memorable cult film that’s weak on plot but strong on comedy and depicting characters with terrible flaws who are searching for an identity. It’s not a film that should draw interest from the mainstream crowd, but one that is innovative, timeless and should still interest the more adventurous viewers in the near future.
REVIEWED ON 2/17/2015 GRADE: B+