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RELEASED: 1991, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 102 mins
DIRECTOR: Alan Rudolph
PRODUCERS: John Fiedler & Mark Tarlov
SCREENPLAY: William Reilly & Claude Kerven
MUSIC: Mark Isham
Demi Moore as Cynthia
Glenn Headly as Joyce
Bruce Willis as James
Harvey Keitel as Det. John Woods
Billie Neal as Det. Linda Nealon
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Cynthia, a married woman with two small children, is being interrogated by Det. John Woods and Det. Linda Nealon over the suspicious death of her best friend Joyce's husband, James.
As the interrogation gets underway with Cynthia doing her best to respond to Det. Woods' probing questions which at times become quite aggressive, her answers are shown in flashback format and a very interesting, gripping story begins to unfold.
The viewer is then, as Cynthia opens up to the police, taken back to Joyce's and James' wedding day. Even at the wedding reception, James reveals himself as a volatile, fist-happy abusive coke-head...yet Joyce appears to obey his every command after some mild protestations.
As time goes by, Joyce's and James' relationship continues down a very rocky road. Whenever she confides in her friend Cynthia about James' behaviour, Joyce continually expresses her desire to see him dead and even half-jokingly threatening to kill him herself.
On an evening out, Joyce, James and Cynthia visit a fairground. James is off his head on coke and booze, so the two girls wander around the fair on their own....only to later return to their van and find James lying in the back with his throat cut.
Via the police interrogation of Cynthia over James' death and the flashbacks, events unfold which suggest that maybe things aren't quite how they initially seem.
That loosely outlines the plot, and as always, you must watch it yourself to find out what happens.
I went into watching Mortal Thoughts blind, not having a clue what it would be about, but the title attracted me. I did wonder if it might turn out to be a horror film, but it falls within the mystery/crime-thriller genre.
Right from the very beginning I was hooked. Straight away, the film launches into an extremely well produced and directed tale of murder, intrigue and betrayal which, unlike quite a lot of other movies of this nature, is very easy to follow and not in the slightest bit confusing.
Everything about Mortal Thoughts impressed me, particularly the flawless, first-class acting from every one of the main characters. I don't have a favourite....they were all brilliant....and I was particularly surprised at both Demi Moore's and Bruce Willis' performances, as they are two actors I don't normally hold in especially high esteem. I loved Bruce Willis' powerfully convincing performance as James, the obnoxious wife-abuser, with his scenes of being under the influence of coke and alcohol absolutely spot-on and highly true to life. Demi Moore surprised me simply because I do feel she became rather typecast from her role in Ghost, and such has been very apparent for me in a couple of other films I've seen her in, but in Mortal Thoughts she really comes into her own. The rest of the main cast members also are brilliant in this fascinating, intriguing film.
Mortal Thoughts is a very sleek, slick production where no stone appears to have been left unturned regarding atmosphere, detail, and presenting the storyline in a completely watchable fashion with no confusing bits. The music is very good too, being avant-garde and consisting of various synthesised keyboard and percussion sounds, punctuated with some electronic choral voices. Different parts of the musical score are perfectly set to enhance whatever is happening on screen at the time, adding to an already tense atmosphere.
Although Mortal Thoughts is, I suppose, a mystery of sorts, it isn't of a wispy nature as it does have strong elements of also being a crime thriller. There is quite a lot of swearing here and there in the first-class dialogue, but it isn't inappropriate or done just for the sake of having a bit of Anglo-Saxon peppering the proceedings. The swearing is perfectly well placed, coming across as one-hundred percent natural.
I'm so very tempted to reveal more of the storyline, but of course that would encroach the land of spoiler territory, so I shall just have to content myself with saying that I found Mortal Thoughts to be a really gripping, interesting, thoughtful and realistic film which from all aspects, is very professionally put together and I loved every minute of it.
I am trying to find something negative to say about Mortal Thoughts, but am unable to. The only thing I would home in on, and it is in no way a criticism, is that it probably is a 'watch once only' film because once the mystery is solved and you know the ending, that's it and although the acting/direction/production is first-class, such doesn't pave the way for a second viewing because of the nature of the storyline.
My final words : Watch it!
At the time of writing, Mortal Thoughts can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £19.98 to £34.99
Used: from £2.09 to £7.99
Collectible: Only one copy currently available @ £6.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Demi Moore stars in this suspenseful, atmospheric thriller as Cynthia, a middle class New Jersey woman who gets involved in murder. Harvey Keitel plays a detective who grills Cynthia for a videotaped confession and the bulk of the movie progresses in a series of flashbacks that accompany Cynthia's testimony. Bruce Willis plays James Urbanski, the violent, drug-addict husband of Cynthia's friend Joyce (Glenne Headly) who is murdered one fateful evening at a nearby Feast of San Gennarro festival. Lots of Jersey Italian-style yelling and screaming goes on in the aftermath, with goodfella Frank Vincent in the cast, along with Karen Shallo, Crystal Field, and John Pankow as Cynthia's sullen real estate agent husband. There's also betrayals, threats, and a twist ending. Director Alan Rudolph captures the local New Jersey flavor beautifully and imbues the proceedings with depth via rich photography and use of slow motion and quick cuts. Willis is particulalry good, in a disturbing sort of way, in this, his first collaboration with future ex-wife Moore.