Trouble in Mind (film)

Trouble in Mind (1985) is an American neo-noir film written and directed by Alan Rudolph and starring Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Geneviève Bujold, and Lori Singer, with an out-of-drag appearance by Divine. The story follows an ex-cop just released from jail after serving time for a murder sentence as he returns to the mean streets of the fictional "Rain City", inspired by and filmed in Seattle.

Trouble in Mind
Trouble in mind post.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlan Rudolph
Produced byDavid Blocker
Written byAlan Rudolph
Music byMark Isham
CinematographyToyomichi Kurita
Edited byTom Walls
Distributed byAlive Films
Release date
  • December 11, 1985 (1985-12-11)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[1]
Box office$19,632


In the mysterious metropolis of Rain City, a former policeman, Hawk, is out of prison after serving eight years on a murder rap. He returns to his former hangout, Wanda's Cafe, run by his former love, Wanda.

New arrivals in town are the down on his luck: Coop, his naive wife Georgia and their baby boy, Spike. In desperate need of money, Coop goes to work for a gangster, Solo, but he isn't very good at his job.

Hawk, meanwhile, begins to develop a protective and even romantic attachment to Georgia, who is hired by Wanda to be a waitress. Coop runs afoul of the mob boss in town, Hilly Blue, leading to a wild shootout at Hilly's unique mansion.



"Rain City" was filmed at Seattle locations, largely older areas on the edges of downtown, giving an impression of a less modern city.[2]

The music, performed by Marianne Faithfull, was arranged and accompanied by Mark Isham. The film begins with the 1920s blues standard "Trouble in Mind" and ends with a song of love and reassurance, both performed by Faithfull.[3]

Peter R. Tromp (now Peter Trump, author of Milk the Children and Poems and Portions) provided music as Divine's strolling violinist. In the Chinatown restaurant scene, Tromp performed Pachelbel's Canon in D and J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. During scenes filmed at the Seattle Art Museum, Tromp performed Telemann's Fantasia No. 6, "Autumn" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Biber's Passacaglia, and Reveille. Tromp's appearance and music in Trouble in Mind were uncredited.


Trouble in Mind was entered into the 36th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

Shout! Factory released a 25th anniversary DVD of the film on December 14, 2010.[5]


The film has received generally positive reviews, and holds an 82% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 11 reviews.[6]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars in his review, noting Rudolph's combination of style and emotional sincerity that is aware of being funny. He describes it as a "movie that takes place within our memories of the movies."[7] Ebert later named it #5 on his list of the best movies of 1986.[8] Walter Goodman of The New York Times was less enthusiastic; he wrote that Rudolph "seems to be striving to say something but isn’t able to break through the fog of the script."[9]

In his book Rainer on Film, critic Peter Rainer included Trouble in Mind in a section on underseen films.[10]


  1. ^ Pollock, Dale (Dec 29, 1984). "FILM COMPANY MAKES HIT MOVIES ON MINI-BUDGETS: ISLAND ALIVE'S HIT MOVIE FORMULA". Los Angeles Times. p. sd_c1.
  2. ^ Wiecking, Steve. "Home Movies". Seattle Met.
  3. ^ Rabin, Nathan. "Trouble In Mind". The A.V. Club.
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1985 Programme". Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  5. ^ Kehr, Dave. "Rain City Woes and Escape in the Desert". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Trouble in Mind at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Goodman, Walter. "Film: 'Trouble in Mind,' with Kris Kristofferson". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Rainer, Peter (2013). Rainer on Film. Santa Monica Press. ISBN 978-1-59580-077-0.

External linksEdit