Mentioning Alan Rudolph’s 1985 film neo-noir Trouble In Mind when reviewing In Time yesterday, has had me reaching into my CD collection for Mark Isham’s wonderfully evocative soundtrack. A jazzy, sax-drenched score full of sadness and nostalgia, it echoes the noir atmosphere of the movie in the way it harks back to Hollywood classics of old, but casts synthesisers into the soundstage to mirror how the film casts a new-age spin on the genre typical of the new-wave ‘eighties punk when it was made. The film is part film-noir homage and part neo-noir reworking of the genre; the marriage isn’t wholly successful but the years have been kind to the film; it’s sort of an arthouse Blade Runner without the fx, and in a way Isham invites the comparison as his use of sax and electronics further echoes Vangelis’ Blade Runner score.
The soundtrack and film are bookended by two songs enriched by the uniquely life-worn vocals of Marianne Faithful; Trouble In Mind is a soulful rendition of the Robert M Jones classic; “Life ain’t worth living, sometimes I feel like dying,” Faithful cries, a bluesy song of sadness that opens the movie indicating the mindset of the main characters. The Hawk, which closes album and film is a heartbreaking ode of unrequited love. Written by the film’s star Kris Kristofferson, Faithful’s vocals soar above Mark Isham’s heavenly saxophone and keyboards… its a haunting song. “I don’t deserve you, I’m only human… Will you remember, way down the road… Somebody loves you more than you know,” Faithful soulfully breathes over shimmering sax and synth in a timeless languid eight-minute work of considerable beauty. Anybody who has seen the movie will remember this wonderfully emotional song and how it closes the film. When I first saw the film on television many years ago, the song just blew me away and I knew I just had to get the soundtrack, which wasn’t all that easy in those pre-internet days. Ah, those days of ordering through the post from speciality soundtrack dealers… seems postively arcane now.