Trouble in Mind: 25th Anniversary Edition Alan Rudolph

Trouble in Mind: 25th Anniversary Edition Alan Rudolph
Considering that Alan Rudolph has made a career exploring the social periphery — pointing out that sanity and normalcy are merely matters of consensus through constructing alternate, fantastical adjacent realities that exaggerate idiosyncrasy and status quo peculiarity — it's no surprise that he's never had a conventional hit. He's the type of director that attracts name actors with ease, given his propensity for letting them have creative rein over their oft-repressed impulses, which typically adds to the bizarre nature of his films, since the performances and chaotic narrative threads seem almost cartoonish and dreamlike. He understands that perspective of feeling like the only sane person in a world full of assimilative, certifiable lunatics, making for insular, extremely personal viewing for those that get it. Trouble is Mind is no exception, having minimal cultural impact when it was released 25 years ago on a single theatre screen, but gaining true cult status amongst a very specific subset of fans. It takes place in the timeless, fictional Rain City, where loners and social rejects retreat to act upon their base human impulses. Taking a faux-noir vibe, with archetypal characters and a cynical worldview, the action centres upon Wanda's Restaurant, run by the worldly, weathered ex-girlfriend (Genevieve Bujold) of Marlowe character Hawk (Kris Kristofferson). Fresh out of prison, his motivations and agenda are unclear until he lends a hand to the story's innocent, a young mother named Georgia (Lori Singer), whose husband, Coop (Keith Carradine), has taken up with local low level thugs and criminals. While the story plays out as a conventional pulp story, with art nouveau hairstyles and costumes, Rudolph is careful never to play into any of the genre conventions, even maintaining lucid cinematography free from cliché. It keeps everything familiar, but off and completely unpredictable, upping the ante of chaotic impulse and otherworldly fantasy, despite being founded in a world where human connections seem a near-impossibility. He even cast Divine in the Sydney Greenstreet role, heightening that sense of manic insanity within the confines of social normalcy. It's quite a neo-noir accomplishment, and a curious one at that. Anyone interested in genre plays and deconstructions of objective reality should definitely check this one out, if they haven't already. To boot, this 25th anniversary DVD has an extensive "Making of" supplement with recent interviews with the entire cast and key members of the crew. There is also a conversation between Alan Rudolph and composer Mark Isham, along with some liner notes written by the director. (Shout! Factory)