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Mortal Thoughts

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Demi Moore, Glenne Headly, Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel star in this riveting psychological thriller about two best friends caught in a complex web of violence and betrayal. Told in a series of haunting flashbacks, the story unfolds as a determined police detective (Keitel) questions New Jersey housewife, Cynthia Kellogg (Moore), about the death of her best friend's abusive husband (brilliantlyplayed by Willis). Reluctant to incriminate her friend, Cynthia weaves a net of lies that eventually threatens her own family. Pitted against each other in scenes of mounting tension, the two desperate women are reluctantly pushed toward the shocking, violent climax.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Glenne Headly, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel
  • Directors: Alan Rudolph
  • Producers: John Fiedler, Mark Tarlov
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 25, 1998
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767815122
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,761 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mortal Thoughts" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
First of all I have no idea why this was named "Mortal Thoughts." More appropriate would be, "Fatal Lies" or "An Inadvertent Confession," or maybe "Desperate Friends."

Be that as it may, this is a superior thriller mainly because the story is compelling and the acting is first rate. Demi Moore who plays Cynthia is just outstanding. She commands the screen with her beautiful and expressive features and her great natural skill. If you don't like her, I guarantee you will not like this movie because she dominates the film. She is as vivid and unforgettable as an Al Pacino or a Betty Davis.

As an aside on the career of Demi Moore, I want to say that it's a shame for her that her off-screen personality is not well liked, which in large part accounts for the fact that she is one of the most underrated, although one of the most often seen and hardest-working stars of the last fifteen years or so. This movie is an example of how she is ignored. The plain fact is her performance here is better than many who have won Oscars, and she wasn't even nominated. Another problem for her is that this movie (and others she has made) are not the sort of films that the Academy pays much attention to. Mortal Thoughts (which she co-produced, by the way) is too low-budget, too "common" one might say, for any part in it to be taken seriously in an artistic sense. Too bad.

Glenne Headly (Joyce) is also outstanding while Bruce Willis is excellent as Joyce's drug-addled, boozing, wife-beating loser of a husband. The dialogue is right on, realistically depicting the lives of New Jersey beauty shop people while the plot told in ersatz flashbacks unfolds nicely with a fine tension.
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Format: VHS Tape
Alan Rudolph's Mortal Thoughts is a drama about murder, not movie murder where a hitmen shoots a guy dead with rock music on the soundtrack, but real-life murder, where the killer/killers have a crises of conscience, act with shock, disbelief and paranoia.
The film is set around two couples, James (Bruce Willis) & Joyce(Glenne Headly)and Cynthia(Demi Moore) & Arthur (John Pankow). The film starts out as a pitch black comedy, with Bruce Willis giving an excellent performance as the loud, abusive and downright nasty James. His wife Joyce played by the lovely Glenne Headly is a neurotic who is constantly half kidding her best friend Cynthia about how she would like to kill him. The whole movie is carefully framed with a detective (Harvey Kietel) asking Cynthia questions about one or several crimes. Slowly the flashbacks reveal the events as if they were happening in real time, and the film's momentum builds to a point where it becomes an unbearably tense drama.
The murder or murders in Mortal Thoughts are not commited by a movie-physcopath, but people who have lost their nerve. Throught out the film they have to clean up after it, hide evidence and virtually go insane in the proccess. It the documentary like portrayel of the murders and the first rate acting that makes this film so much better then the countless other murder mysteries you may have seen.
The film however does have one major flaw. After slowly revealing its cards with tense intorrogation scenes the ending is a complete cop out. Without giving anything away, I will say that after working so hard on revealing the facts in the detective's questioning, the truth is unveiled by us seeing the thoughts of one of the major characters. This is not only cheating, but it also leaves a second major crime unresolved.
Despite this, I highly reccomend you see this film. It has a certain truthfulness that makes it more unerving then many serial killer movies.
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Format: DVD
Alan Rudoph started out as something of a protégé of Altman's in the 1970s, assistant directing on The Long Goodbye, California Split and Nashville. Since then he's made a good number of movies of his own that, from what I've seen, tend to be rather uncommercial, slow, serious, painstakingly realistic, sometimes maybe a little dull, but often very interesting films. This is certainly a high point, very interesting indeed and very far from dull. It's a really first rate crime story comprising a long conversation between a detective, played by Harvey Keitel and the central character Cynthia, played by Demi Moore in one of her best performances. The story she has to tell is relayed to us in flashback and deals with her best friend Joyce (Glenne Headly, another excellent performance) and her truly horrible, brutal bully of a husband James (Bruce Willis, also excellent - hateful and frightening but very believable); how Joyce always liked to fantasise about killing James off; how one day he does indeed end up dead; how they agree to lose the body and say nothing to anyone, how their relationship then bends and breaks under the strain; and what happens next. This subtle, intelligent, fabulously well-constructed film is one of the very best crime movies to come from the States in recent years and deserves to be a lot better known.
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Format: DVD
"Mortal Thoughts" (1991), produced by one of its own stars, Demi Moore, and directed by Alan Rudolph, is very different from that director's usual laidback work. It presents viewers with one tough little low-budget mystery, set in the New Jersey city of Bayonne, among its white, urban working class, in the drug-addled 1980's: check out the big hair.

The film centers on two hairdressers, best friends since infancy, now married, with young children, and working together: Joyce Urbanski, played by Glenne Headley, unhappily married to James (Bruce Willis); and Cynthia Kellogg (Moore), married to Arthur (John Pankow). Harvey Keitel plays police detective John Wood, who comes into their lives. Willis takes big brave chances playing in his wife, Demi Moore's movie, as an obnoxious, drug-addicted, abusive husband who's wearing red pants when he finally gets his. The story's narrated in flashback by Cynthia, as she tells it to the police: there's an aspect of "Rashomon:" here, as we know only what she tells us, and must decide whether her tale is truthful or not. (And we never do get all the mysteries exactly explained.)

Interestingly enough, three of the five principals are of working-class origins themselves. Demi Moore was raised in a series of trailer parks; her family moved 40 times; and she quit school at 16 to work as a pinup. Willis actually grew up in New Jersey, attended Montclair State University there, and worked as a waiter and bartender before finally hitting his stride. Keitel was born in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. The working class roots of these actors surely give a sense of reality and solidity to their portrayals here.
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