Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mona Lisa

Sometimes they fall for what they think I am” - Cathy Tyson offers a word of caution to Bob Hoskins which sadly falls on deaf ears… I treated myself to a screening of Mona Lisa this weekend and what a fantastic job the Arrow production team have done on the Blu-Ray edition, the film is a dazzling sight for sore eyes after so many tired-looking home video editions. Seeing the film again after an absence of a good few years, I can safely it’s Neil Jordan’s finest work (alongside End of the Affair), although I found myself irritated by the scenes with Robbie Coltrane (which regularly bring the film to a halt), and I think the film might have been more satisfying had it ended on Brighton pier. I suspect Hoskins’ character is so endearing that Jordan and David Leland just about get away with what is a gratuitous happy ending. I imagine Neil Jordan became thoroughly sick of the Taxi Driver comparisons, but one can’t help but think he invites them at certain points in the film – one scene even has the camera bolted to the bonnet of the car during one of Hoskins' nocturnal tours of the city’s underbelly. Still, the film is warmer and kinder than Taxi Driver and while not a superior picture to the Scorsese, it’s more inviting, perhaps even more watchable. I don’t know what those mean streets of London looked in the mid-80’s but I must assume Jordan went for a stylized view of the city – at one point I thought of Satyricon, as shadowy figures huddled beneath an underpass, momentarily illuminated by flickering fires. And there’s a pleasing intersection of Hoskins’ character George with his Long Good Friday counterpart Harold Shand when George expresses his disgust for the multi-racial neighborhood, much like the scene where Shand pays a visit to Erroll the grass…


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