Mona Lisa


Action / Crime / Drama / Romance


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August 06, 2015 at 01:37 AM



Michael Caine as Mortwell
Kenny Baker as Brighton Busker
Clarke Peters as Anderson
Robbie Coltrane as Thomas
720p 1080p
811.70 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 2 / 6
1.65 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 44 min
P/S 1 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Robert J. Maxwell ([email protected]) 7 / 10

Complex Mystery for Adults

Bob Hoskins made two widely popular movies in the 1980s and this was one of them. Having seen the other, "The Long Good Friday," I wasn't expecting too much but was pleasantly surprised. Hoskins, just out of the slams, is hired to drive a high-end black hooker, Cathy Tyson, from one wealthy client to another. He grows to care for her and when she asks him for a favor, find a strung-out young girl named Kathy, a former roomie of hers, he agrees. He searches the seedier places of London until he finally digs her up. She very young and very hooked. Robbie Coltrane is Hoskins' friend, and Michael Caine is a sort of procurer. The ending is both distressing and violent -- distressing because some of these characters are fully fleshed and we feel we've come to know them.

The film is quite nicely done. The score makes much use of Nat "King" Cole's ballad, Mona Lisa, evoking mystery, and it's appropriate. The composer has worked what seem to be endless variations of the first four notes of the theme into the score. We hear it in the background often, in minor key, or played exclusively on double bass, or burnished by horns. Those four notes insinuate themselves into the incidental music so often that a listener loses the sense that they are the introduction to a pop song and they come to have an ominous functional autonomy, disembodied from the simple tune that prompted it. They become their own song.

The acting is fine. Bob Hoskins is an essentially moral guy, short and unprepossesing, who first shows up on screen wearing an echt-1970s bell-bottomed leisure suit (he's been in for seven years, remember) and carrying a bouqet of flowers that his wife, berserk with anger, tells him what to do with. His gradual attraction to his passenger is nicely laid out, as are the reasons for his occasional displays of violence. He's a sensitive guy, but not too thoughtful. A lot of things get by him. But, to be fair, they get by the viewer too.

There's an element of humor running through the film, mostly expressed in the relationship between Hoskins and Coltrane, who plays a writer and a sculptor of things made of plastic spaghetti. ("The Japanese have cornered the market.") The dialogue is pretty funny in a low-key way. Hoskins and Coltrane sit watching TV and Hoskins remarks something like, "Remember that guy who was murdered? Well, I did it." Coltrane: "You're not joking?" Hoskins (turning and staring grimly): "I -- never -- joke." Coltrane: "You used to tell that one about the randy gorilla." And here is Hoskins describing his passenger, telling Coltrane that she's not out to exploit him, Hoskins, because "she's a lady." Coltrane: "A lady? I thought you said she was a tart." Hoskins: "Well -- she is, but she's a f****** lady too."

And Cathy Tyson almost beggars description, tall, slender, lithe, not staggeringly beautiful or sexy, but her appeal extends far beyond mere appearance. She's gorgeous in the most personal way. She tends to keep her face down and her eyes lowered, almost demurely, and her voice is soft and low, just above a whisper, although you never have to strain to hear what she's saying because her pronunciation is modulated and precise. It's soothing, in control and at the same time reassuring, the voice of an announcer on a late-night FM station playing nothing but classical music. You could listen to her for hours. You could look at her for hours too, for that matter. Michael Caine doesn't have a big or showy part, but he's so reliable that he's always a pleasure to see on screen. I can't think of a single film that has been damaged by his presence, although he's been in a few bummers.

The photography is perceptive. We get a good deal of local color not only from the London locations but from "the seaside," where everything comes to a head. There isn't a lot of violence. What there is of it is quick and pointed.

See it if you get the chance.

Reviewed by Michael Margetis ([email protected]) 8 / 10

True grit and grime

Neil Jordan's 'Mona Lisa' is a great film that was sadly forgotten over time, even though Hoskins got an Oscar nomination for the film. 'Mona Lisa' follows a basically good guy whose made some bad choices George (Bob Hoskins) and his return from prison. Shunned from his wife and some of his old buddies, George feels kind of unwanted but gets a job from his old boss (Michael Caine) chauffeuring a call girl (Cathy Tyson) around at night. The call girl and George form a bond, while the story turns into violence, crime and George and the call girl's search for a young innocent teenage girl forced into prostitution. In my opinion, 'Mona Lisa' is one of Jordan's best films if not his best. Hoskins is absolutely amazing in his role, while Cathy Tyson and Michael Caine provide solid performances as well. Clarke Peters (who you may know as Detective Freeman from HBO's brilliant dramatic series 'The Wire') is also in this as Cathy Tyson's evil and psychotic pimp. For all you indie fans out there, rush to the Blockbuster near you to rent 'Mona Lisa' (make sure it's not 'Mona Lisa Smile', that movie is a tad bit different.) Most likely, you'll find a lot to enjoy and/or admire about this little British indie gem. Grade: B+

Reviewed by hokeybutt 10 / 10

**** (Out of four)

MONA LISA (5 outta 5 stars) Every now and then I have to watch one of my favourite 5-star movies just to remember what a truly GREAT movie looks like. This is one of my all-time faves... with incredible, top-of-the-line performances from Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine (playing a scary bad guy) and Cathy Tyson. Hoskins plays George, just released from prison after taking the rap meant for his old boss, Mortwell (Caine). Mortwell knows he owes George something but doesn't really think that much of his criminal talents so he gets George a job driving one of his high-class prostitutes (Tyson) from job to job. Soon, George is smitten with this tough, gutsy lady-of-the-streets. Simone, sensing that George is a kind-hearted soul who will do anything for her, gets him to try and track down another young hooker friend of hers who has gone missing. George finds the young woman, incurring the wrath of Mortwell and setting himself him for an emotional upheaval at the film's climax. Masterfully done with great dialogue. The film manages to be funny, heartrending, violent and romantic... sometimes all in one scene.

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