The Mosquito Coast Reviews
Weir's direction is concise and tight, performances all round are fantastic. It's a shame that the failure of this drove him to the milk toast that is Dead Poets Society.
An awesome double feature with There Will Be Blood or Fitzcaraldo.
The story is excellent - you can tell it's based on a novel - and Ford brings completely to life a character both alluring and downright impossible
"Charlie, your father is the worst kind of pain in the neck. A know-it-all who's sometimes right .I've come to see he's a dangerous man.
You tell him that."
This is a fascinating film with a towering central performance by Ford, supported ably by Mirren and a young Phoenix. One to watch!
Allie Fox is a tired inventor sick of a consumerist America; on a spur of the moment decision he ups his family from their country home and takes them to settle in the paradise of the Mosquito Coast, in a town previously uninhabited. The group encounter a number of trials and tribulations, but none captivate or inspire; it seems a dull unfolding of events rather than an exciting journey of self-discovery.
The major problem of the narrative is the character of Allie Fox. He is a man so self-involved, so obsessed with a half-baked dream of adventure, so utterly boring in how he attempts to explain and justify his ambitions you can't help but try and block out most of his dialogue. It is usually the mark of a well constructed persona that the audience respond to them, but I felt nothing for Allie; I didn't hate, like or admire him, he just bored me. Harrison Ford plays the role fantastically, but it doesn't make the character - or the film - any more likeable or less tiresome.
Helen Mirren plays Allie's strangely passive wife, and I wish she contributed more to the emotional crux of the story; annoyingly, even Ford only refers to her as 'Mother'. Phoenix is the son providing the narration, but he is too shoved to the sidelines; if it is his recount of their tale, why did Weir not use the character more in highlighting the boy's change in feeling towards the degenerative father?
But if there is something to be praised, it is the direction. Weir holds the stuffy screenplay together somehow, and while 'The Mosquito Coast' is far too long the director makes the extended epilogue seem part of the same story. Issues of religion and race are touched upon quite spiritedly, but alas, the focus forever remains of Allie. It's unfortunate to watch all this potential dissipate into a vacuum of disinterest.
I think in my rating, I am being generous. But you witness these actors putting in their all, know Weir is blameless in how the screenplay fans out the story, and all things considered an adequate picture is made, so I admire their efforts. Plus there is the added benefit of some beautiful scenery. Lush greens, flowing waters, misty mountain peaks...trust me, you'll find the exotic backdrop is more worthy of your time than the lifeless and muddled drama of 'The Mosquito Coast'.