Mona Lisa

"Excellent"

Mona Lisa Review


Neil Jordan knows movies are a form of art. While much of his work carries a distinctive artistic style, his involving 1986 drama Mona Lisa even carries the title of the famous painting of a dark, serene, mysterious woman with a slight grin on her face -- the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa shares much in common with that painting. The film contains a female character who is serene, dark, and mysterious. It doesn't take a genius, however, to comprehend that the leading actress here is a lot sexier than the woman in the painting.

The film stars Bob Hoskins as George, a scruffy but sweet fellow who has just been released from prison. He reluctantly accepts the responsibility of chauffeuring an expensive prostitute (Cathy Tyson) around town. After starting out on the wrong foot, to say the least, a friendship eventually develops. George also decides to help the hooker find a friend who has mysteriously disappeared. Complications ensue.

This film contains a sharp, unexpected narrative that leads us to believe one event will happen, only to see something different occur. It's a journey of self-discovery for George and a morality play for Tyson's character.

Initially, it's difficult to decipher this movie. One needs to examine the film's complex themes and comparisons to fully understand it. Mona Lisa takes us through the sleazy world of pornography in London. But the movie isn't anything like 8MM, the 1999 film that is becoming a notorious comparison for movies that deal with the underground world of porn. That film carried the same message as Mona Lisa, but bears a much more aggressive attitude. Mona Lisa does not share that attitude. It's filled with a humble human dimension. It isn't about sex, nudity, and violence, but about the personal struggles and despicable lifestyles that pornographers inhabit.

Neil Jordan turns the conventions of a typical crime drama into a deep, passionate character study. He pays close attention to the circumstances that cause the emotional and physical struggles, as well as the emotions themselves. Hoskins, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, is perfect for the role. He is one of Hollywood's best actors, and we do not see him in enough movies these days.

Mona Lisa manipulates the commodities of its genre to create something fresh and unique. The film will not work all the time -- it's often tedious in its timing, and the pacing is quite slow. For patient audiences who enjoy well-crafted art house flicks, Mona Lisa will prove to be a memorable cinematic experience that crawls under your skin. For everyone else, the production might not be as entertaining, but it still displays the vast talents of Neil Jordan.



Mona Lisa

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th June 1986

Distributed by: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Production compaines: HandMade Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as George, as Simone, as Mortwell, as Thomas, as Anderson, as Cathy, Zoë Nathenson as Jeannie (as Zoe Nathenson), as May

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.