Mortal Thoughts

Even when he's not working with his own material, Alan Rudolph remains one of our sharpest film stylists. In this 1991 feature—a somber thriller involving wife abuse and murder in New Jersey, written by William Reilly and Claude Kerven—he does such a good job with the storytelling and the actors that the broadness of the film's depiction of a working-class milieu doesn't seem unduly jarring, anchored as it is in an effectively distancing New Age score by Mark Isham. Demi Moore, who also coproduced, stars as the best friend and coworker of a hairdresser (Glenne Headly) married to an abusive layabout (Bruce Willis). If in the past Rudolph has tended to romanticize the sordidness of working-class life (as in Remember My Name and Choose Me), here he seems to be trying to overcompensate with a vengeance, but the fleetness of his camera moves and editing and the strength of his lead actors (who also include Harvey Keitel and Billie Neal as police detectives) keep one riveted to the screen.

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