Follow TV Tropes


Film / Trouble in Mind

Go To

Trouble in Mind is a 1985 American Film Noir (neo-noir) directed by Alan Rudolph. It features Kris Kristofferson and Keith Carradine. Also Divine without drag (although he still looks pretty campy)

The film is set in a Rain City, a pseudonym for Seattle in this case. A couple of a criminally-inclined husband, Coop, played by Keith Carradine and his caring young wife, Georgia (Lori Singer), with a child arrive to the city in the same time when a cop (Hawk) is released from the prison where he served a term for murder. They meet in a diner led by a tough proprietor, Wanda (Geneviève Bujold), an older flame of the cop.

Coop also meets a black urban philosopher-cum-criminal, Solo, who leads him futher down the road of depravity. On their path they collide with the local criminal boss Hilly Blue played by Divine and his rival, Nate Nathanson. Coop then starts to transform his appearence under the influence of Solo, from a regular small-town guy he gradually turns into the parody of David Bowie.

Hawk, on his part, has to fight his internal demons, also he without much effort fights Coop to protect Georgia (and at times tries to protect Coop from much worse criminals too). The demons of Hawk are pretty serious as he is not always gentlemanly with Georgia or Wanda.


  • Alliterative Name: Nate Nathanson, the criminal leader of the gang competing with Hilly Blue's.
  • Anti-Hero: Hawk is pretty definitely this:
    • In one scene he rapes or nearlty rapes (as in the last minute she gives in herself) Wanda.
    • He is callous with Coop too.
  • Betty and Veronica: The blonde innocent young mother Georgia and tough street-savvy Wanda.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Coop (as well as Hawk) During the final big shootout they both pass through the crowd which shoot at each other and remain unharmed. People all kill one another but Hawk goes his way through the mansion where the shootout takes place to the car and is never hit. Hawk who is previously hit by Hill Blue also does not suffer any other wound
  • Black Dude Dies First: Solo is put in the car full of water.
  • Boom, Headshot! That is how Hilly Blue is killed.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: In the scene where Coop has Hawk and Hilly Blue at the gunpoint the former grabs the gun of Coop and they start to fight. Hilly Blue is then starting to shoot indiscriminately at Coop and Hawk fighting. Hawk turns around and makes a Pretty Little Headshots in his head. Then he says Coop go away which the latter does. Then it is revealed that Hilly Blue actually hit Haw in the left side of his body.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Never implied in-universe but Coop at certain point starts to look like Bowie.
  • Country Mouse: Georgia is this when she arrives to Rain City.
  • City Noir: Rather Rain City, also known as Seattle. It is not black and white, rather colorful as it is shot in 1985, post-Blade Runner.
  • Cool Train: Seattle elevated metro system. It actually includes only two lines but it is shot so expertly one would think it goes nearly everywhere in the city.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Probably not the cruelest out there however Solo ends up in a car standing on the firm ground which is somehow full of water inside in which he is drowned.
  • Damsel in Distress: Georgia.
  • Determinator: Coop pretends to be the one but falls flat on his face.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Played straight with Coop who survives but voluntarily quits Georgia and joins the military.
    • Arguably subverted by Hawk who in the final scene drives the car and the other front seat is not shown, then Georgia appears from camera left caressing him. It might be his dying dream as he is hit by the bullet of Hilly Blue but might be not
  • Door Stop Baby: Georgia in the minute of despair leaves hers in the car of a visibly well-off family Pretty soon Hawk gives the baby back to her.
  • Everybody Has Standards: No villains here are completely villainous.
  • Everyone Is Armed: Played with, at the big party near the end females are not armed but most males are. It results in a huge shooutout.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Hilly Blue played by Divine.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Coop gradually turns into the most parodic version of David Bowie no less.
  • Film Noir: Mid-80's version, Neo-Noir.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hilly Blue invokes that. He says his mother never kissed him once. Hawk talks fondly of his mother in reply.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Georgia in one scene uses it to protect herself from Hawk the antihero who harasses her in this scene asking to come out with him for diner extremely insistently while she repeatedly refuses.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Hawk is an antihero with many flaws while Coop is an ineffectual sympathetic villain. Both gang leaders also are not totally black. It is indeed a grey world where most people are doomed but no-one is without any redeeming qualities.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hawk has a visible limp. Which does not prevent him from doing anything.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Coop and Solo become that even though once Coop mentions that he does not care with whom make money, he is only anxious to make it.
  • Hookers and Blow: Played with at the orgies of Coop and Solo because blow is not seen, just booze and tobacco. Hookers galore though.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Invoked by Hawk to Wanda as he is recently out of prison.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: While Coop hurts some people on his way he is ultimately that, his actions are frequently inept, also Hawk always has the upper side in their confrontation without much effort. In the end Coop even survives and joins the military.
    • Arguably Solo too he dies in a carful of water.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Hawk in the beginning.
  • Mugging the Monster: That's what Coop and Solo try to do when they rob Nate Nathanson. it ends in a partial failure. Coop and Solo have to run away as Nate suddently takes possession of a gun and shoots at them. Both Coop and Solo manage to escape with the jewels they earlier took when they still had him at the gunpoint. However the whole scene establishes that Nate Nathanson is a badass while both Coop and Solo are ineffectual criminals.
  • Opposites Attract Cultured Solo who quotes poets and philosophers and uneducated Coop.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: Coop and Solo have the one TWICE. The second time Georgia surprises Coop.
    • The trope is invoked by a girl in the second scene who says to Georgia that they are having party while it clearly looks like an orgy.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Played straight with Hilly Blue whose mortal wound is exactly this.
  • Running Gag: Coop several times hits with the opening door the head of the diner employee washing the floor who always is positioned on all fours near that door. Instant Karma in the person of Hawk ensues most of the time.
  • Save the Villain: That's what Georgia asks Hawk to do for Coop. In the end he manages to and probably all three survive.
  • Sissy Villain: Hilly Blue is somewhat tough but he is still ultimately this.
  • Wicked Cultured: Solo the street philosopher.
  • You Owe Me: This trope is invoked by Hawk to the police officer when Georgia's baby is lost. The latter probably sets the machine in motion offscreen and the baby is promptly found.