Trouble In Mind (1985)

ALAN RUDOLPH

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1985. , . Screenplay by . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Alan Rudolph plays freely with genre in this romantic fantasy that has as many dark as light notes. In a fictional place with a retrofuturistic look called Rain City, plays a cop who has just been released from prison for having committed murder years earlier. He goes in search of a former lover, a diner waitress () who insists they just be friends (after he more or less forces himself on her), which is fortunate because lowlife tough guy has just swept into town with his naïve girlfriend () and their newborn baby, and Kristofferson is immediately taken with the angelic blond. Carradine wants to make money and falls in with criminals who work for a gang lord (Divine in one of his few non-drag performances), turning more violent and dangerous and driving the desperate Singer further into the arms of the man who is captivated with her. The look of the film is beautifully achieved, Rudolph films Seattle exteriors to look like an Alphaville-esque science-fiction landscape with minimal efforts in lighting and set design (the same year, Gilliam’s garish Brazil would overdo a similar style), while a number of interiors display an ultra-eighties style of futurism common in films of the era that lends charm to the experience. As often is the case with many of the director’s films, though, he has created striking visuals and rich characters (inhabited by superb actors) and has arranged them around a hollow centre; it’s hard to know exactly what Kristofferson’s trajectory is other than the happenstance that falls in his path, he’s set up as the film’s lead but his participation is incidental and his lack of chemistry with Singer doesn’t help excuse the fact that we don’t really know, aside from the fact that she’s very pretty, why he is so deeply set on her. Very few of the characters are clear about what they want or what they plan to do, so that the experience gets quite tiresome by the time we reach the violent climax.

Berlin Film Festival: In Competition

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