Mona Lisa - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mona Lisa Reviews

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½ April 15, 2018
"Mona Lisa," based on the screenplay by Neil Jordan and David Leland, is not a successful fusion of the drama and crime genres. The approach is to welcome us into George and Simone's disreputable worlds through their personal interactions, but it sacrifices the complexity of their relationships. As a result, the big picture is a blur for the most part. This is problematic because the third act, including the climax, involves life or death situations. I found myself indifferent toward who lives or dies.
½ December 8, 2016
Some people put so much time and effort into devising the person they'd like to be that there comes a point in which the line between the real them and their idealized self becomes innumerably blurred. Take "Mona Lisa's" resident odd couple, George (Bob Hoskins) and Simone (Cathy Tyson). George is a loud-mouthed, almost uncomfortably candid low-level gangster recently released from prison, meticulous in his surrounding himself in a savage, seen-it-all facade. Simone, a beguiling black prostitute, prides herself in the imperceptible shawl of bewitchment that dependably surrounds her. Neither, though, are much willing to reveal their vulnerabilities to the world.
So perhaps they were made for one another - they match in their unwillingness to admit that they're emotionally fragile people in desperate need of a connection not underlined in someone else's shallow desires. Under normal circumstances would they never be brought together. But after George's diabolical former boss Denny Mortwell (Michael Caine) assigns George to act as the driver and bodyguard to Simone, their worlds come together, and, initially, clash. Akin to all cinematic couples that fight like a cat and a dog at first, though, the two eventually come to get to like one another, Simone's trust ultimately becoming so solidified that she tasks George with finding an old friend (Kate Hardie).
And, being the bizarro "Farewell, My Lovely" that it is, "Mona Lisa" (1986) is a sardonic neo-noir as easily able to enrapture with its whodunit fixings and its surprisingly nifty cast chemistry and it is with its cinéma-du-look reminiscent aesthetic. It's not all street glamour, though - thanks to Neil Jordan's co-writing and direction, we have a touching, eccentric romance to win us over, detours into violence and sex more a part of the brio than the humanistic core.
It's as much a popcorn movie as it is a perceptive commentary regarding the lives of street dwellers - think of it as a slice-of-life with sprinklings of Dashiell Hammett. Most of its success rests on the stocky shoulders of Bob Hoskins, who, in his breakthrough role (he won every major acting award but was unexpectedly beat out by Paul Newman for the Academy Award) is so perfectly cast that his performance - that of a classic underdog- instantaneously becomes indelible. It's his Vincent Vega, his Travis Bickle; Hoskins takes a misunderstood, slightly inept outsider and makes him cuddly. Comparatively excellent are Tyson and Caine, the former a sphinx not to be trusted and the latter the sort of grimy villain that feels all too much a part of our reality to easily shake off.
Along with their supporting players do they form a seedy world intriguing to visit - "Mona Lisa" is the sort of noir, that, like "The Big Sleep" (1946) or "Chinatown" (1974), magnetizes just as much as it repulses. We're bewitched by what it has to offer but are distinctly aware that presented is not a world we'd much like to live in. But nevertheless are all the false leads and killer dames and ruthless thugs compelling beings to be in the company of for a couple hours; this is modern, quaintly cynical noir to be cherished.
½ October 17, 2016
1986's Mona Lisa is the story of George a middle aged gangster who is released from prison. he is keen to get himself a job in the criminal underworld but pickings are slim and he assigned as a driver for a mysterious prostitute named Simone. As the story unfolds we come to find that Simone is hiding some major secrets and it causes further stress for George who is also trying to reestablish a relationship with his daughter whom he hasn't seen in sometime.
So I must say this was pretty good. It shows a darker side of England that we normally don't see from british films set in modern day. It was a nicely written story that gets pretty complex. It had a decent ending that was satisfactory.
This is very different from the bob Hoskins I was introduced to. he plays a really temperamental guy looking to be be more in the criminal world but his options are slim and he is by chance thrown into quite a situation. Terrific performance here from the late actor. The chemistry between Hoskins and Cathy Tyson was really intriguing they played out an interesting relationship on camera. Cathy Tyson herself did a tremendous job. she plays a really mysterious call girl who's story catches your curiosity more and more you see her. she's also really gorgeous. Good editing and also I liked the directing here from neil Jordan. beautiful music especially the mona lisa song, very well done soundtrack.
This movie gets a nice 3 1/2 out of 5 stars from me. go check it out
½ September 11, 2016
Bob Hoskins plays his typical role as a gangster with a soft side. He is given the job of driving a "lady of the night" around to her various jobs. A gritty cockney drama that existed before Guy Ritchie and football hooligan films made a mockery of the genre. Michael Caine's character in this is a little embarrassing though.
½ September 8, 2016
Neil Jordan`s breakthrough film is a crime noir masterpiece. A flunky named George is released from prison for serving 7 years to cover for his boss. He needs a job, so they set him up as a driver for a high class call girl named Simone. They clash, but then bond, and then she asks him to her a favour and look up an old friend. Its not much in terms of twists or anything special, but what it does is explore the human need to bond, the exploitation of feelings, and the dark underbelly of London`s sex scene. Mona Lisa is a crime noir with style and verve.
December 13, 2015
A noir film that becomes a thriller with a relation of hate sympathy between a whore and her driver an ex convict.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2015
Neil Jordan's brilliant complex drama about a lonely working class ex-con named George, played magnificently by the late great Bob Hoskins, in an Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe winning performance, who has been released from prison after doing 7 years for taking the rap for a crime he did not commit for his slimy underworld boss, superbly played by Sir Michael Caine, who delivers a compelling menacing supporting performance. George soon is back on Caine's payroll, as an exclusive driver for a high class black call girl, Simone, played wonderfully by Cathy Tyson. George becomes obsessive with the exotic Simone and begins to fall in love with her. This will lead to a dark and bloody path for George and Simone. Astute direction by Neil Jordan, with fine supporting performances by Robbie Coltrane, Clarke Peters, Kate Hardie, Zoe Nathenson, and Sammi Davis. An 80s cinematic classic. Highly Recommended.
May 31, 2015
Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, and Michael Caine are all excellent in this dark romance. Great writing and music
½ October 28, 2014
awesome movie about the description of the underworld of s well made with a great acting and story.Everything suits well without being exaggerated(except one scene or two)
Itr s a nice story and a must watch for growing teenager and everyone above that age.Nice story.
½ July 21, 2014
Bob Hoskins is amazing in this. George is a really interesting character, and oddly very sympathetic. Cathy Tyson is also very good; I don't think I've seen her in anything else, unfortunately. Well directed by Neil Jordan as well.
June 23, 2014
Bob Hoskins gives off an astonishing performance in here.
May 15, 2014
wow brilliant......i have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is such a great movie 2 watch.....its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie.....i think that bob hoskins (.R.I.P.), cathy tyson, michael caine, robbie coltrane, kate hardie, play good roles/parts throughout this movie.....i think that the director of this drama/romance/mystery/suspense/thriller movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....i think that michael caine was brilliant throughout this movie......its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie......i think that this is such a classics movie 2 watch its got a good cast throughout this movie.......i think that bob hoskins (.R.I.P.), was fantastic throughout this movie........i think that Joe Brown as Dudley, was great throughout this movie.......its got good fight scenes thorughout this movie......its got good car chases throughout this movie......i think that this is such a classics movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie........i think that Maggie O'Neill (from the brilliant tv series shameless), was great throughout this movie......i think that this is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch i think that this is such a superb movie 2 watch......i think that Perry Fenwick was great throughout this movie......its got good fight scenes throughout this movie......i think that this is such a cult classics movie 2 watch its such a brilliant movie 2 watch its got a good cast throughout this movie its such a brilliant classics movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie......
April 30, 2014
A beautiful film that Hoskins should have won best actor for.
April 30, 2014
In memory of Bob of his best roles (he was nominated for an Oscar for it)..also one of Neil Jordan ("he Crying Game") best movies as well. Highly recommended.
½ April 15, 2014
I really enjoyed this as a comedy, so the third-act turn into overwrought, puritanical drama was a bit of a letdown. Still, Hoskins is hilarious, and his rapport with Tyson and Coltrane in the early scenes is very entertaining. It's really a shame that Jordan feels he has to hew to the cliché that stories about prostitution have to end in grand tragedy. It sucks all the fun out of the movie. Also it's very weird seeing Lester Freamon/Big Chief Lambreaux playing an evil villain.
½ January 31, 2014
Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan, 1986)

I watched Mona Lisa towards the end of December, after I had set the first draft of my Best I Saw list for 2013. When I was finished, I immediately went to that list and had to rearrange it. Neil Jordan took the British gangster film (and he was serious about making sure people knew it was a British gangster film, to the point of casting the British gangster film stalwart, Bob Hoskins, the Ray Winstone of the eighties), added some of that Neil Jordan magic that few people recognized that early in his career (Mona Lisa was Jordan's third feature), and came up with something that simultaneously revelled in being a British gangster film and something that was also totally new. I'm not sure there is such a thing as the definitive British gangster film, and if it does exist, I'm certain it happened well before 1986. Besides, Mona Lisa breaks far too many molds to be a definitive anything... and yet, somehow, it is, a quick, genre-bending, exceptionally intelligent piece of work.

George (Hoskins) is a small-time mobster who has just been released from prison for a crime he didn't commit-he took a fall for his boss, Mortwell (Michael Caine), who's now avoiding him. He tries to pick up a bit of make-work until he gets back in good with his old mob, and Mortwell, through a proxy, throws him a bone as the driver for a high-class courtesan, Simone (The Serpent and the Rainbow's Cathy Tyson in her feature debut). The two of them have some rough edges to get through, but eventually end up bonding. Once that occurs, Simone asks George for a favor-she promised a fellow courtesan that she would look after her, and the two of them have lost touch over the years. Could George find her? And thus, the mobster becomes an amateur detective, leading to a sequence that's equal parts comedy and homage to Taxi Driver.

See what I mean about genre-bending? That's a tough thing to do, and the more movie I watch the more I understand how tough it is, but Jordan handles everything he tries here with aplomb. Every decision here was made correctly, from casting to camera angles, with one arguable exception (it is obvious, given that a section of the film is a full-length rendition of the Genesis song "In Too Deep" over a montage of George doing his sleuthing, that the studio paid highly for the song and damned well meant to fully showcase it). It is perhaps not a perfect film, but if it is not, is is about as close to one as I have seen in quite a while; this is fabulous filmmaking, and it doesn't matter what genre you are most into, you are likely to find a bit of it here; this is a movie that by rights should have appeal to the widest swath of filmgoers of any I have seen in many years. **** 1/2
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2013
Lots of raving about this film but I didn't find this to be an example of the best of Hoskins and Caine. The alleged grittiness and heart wrenching romance are not as wrenching as you might imagine.
December 5, 2013
Effective film which gets away with its major flaws--In the underbelly of London!!
December 4, 2013
This film has heart in the midst of darkness. Bob Hoskins, plays a loser who is employed as a chauffeur to a high-class call girl. He journeys through the london underworld, in trying to find love. Neil Jordan does a great job in exploring love as a weakness. Hoskins and Tyson have great chemistry and michael caine is just brilliantly evil.
November 16, 2013
Very dated and rubbish acting. Men make me sick the way some treat women. They should remake this film it would be much better with a modern day version.
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