|MONA LISA (director/writer: Neil Jordan; screenwriter: David Leland; cinematographer: Roger Pratt; editor: Lesley Walker; music: Michael Kamen; cast: .Bob Hoskins (George), Cathy Tyson (Simone), Michael Caine (Mortwell), Clarke Peters (Anderson), Kate Hardie (Cathy), Robbie Coltrane (Thomas), Zoe Nathenson (Jeannie), Sammi Davies (May), Rod Bedall (Terry), Joe Brown (Dudley) Pauline Melville (Dawn), David Halliwell (Devlin), Pauline Melville (George's Wife); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Patrick Cassavetti/Stephen Woolley; Handmade Films release through Island Pictures; 1986-UK )|
dreary but compelling romantic crime
thriller about love being the important
ingredient in life."
by Dennis Schwartz
dreary but compelling romantic crime thriller about
love being the important ingredient in life. It's
set in London, and is stylishly helmed by the
esteemed Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan ("Ondine"/"Breakfast
on Pluto"/"In Dreams"). Jordan co-writes the
screenplay with David Leland. The film's title is
lifted from one of Nat King Cole's songs, a song the
film's main protagonist loves.
divorced, hot tempered, obtuse, racist, overweight,
short, flunky mob criminal George (Bob Hoskins) has
been released from prison after seven years and gets
rebuffed by his ex-wife (Pauline
Melville) when he tries to visit
his daughter (Zoe Nathenson).
He loves his daughter more than any other person in
the world, and only wishes to be reconciled with her.
After that futile visit George gets hired by the
sinister vice king mobster chief Mortwell (Michael
Caine) as a chauffeur for classy West
End black prostitute Simone (Cathy Tyson). We also
learn that the ordinary guy, a sentimental romantic,
took the prison rap for his crooked boss Mortwell.
pic takes its sweet time building up the relationship
between the opposites George and Simone, who is
compared to the Mona Lisa painting. Their worlds are
alien to each other, but nevertheless an implausible
love strikes up in George and he ironically tells his
friend (Robbie Coltrane) he fell in love with the tart
because she's a lady--ignoring the irony of what he
said, to his friend's consternation. Eventually the
melancholy prostitute persuades him to help her
find the 15-year-old prostitute named Cathy
who had mysteriously disappeared in London and
explains they became close when they hustled in the
streets together. George takes to this quest as if it
were a holy mission of rescue, and risks his
life in a hunt for her through London's dangerous and
seamy vice underworld. When she is found George is
left disillusioned that Cathy is the love partner of
Simone and that he's in over his head mixing it up
with ruthless mobsters.
gives a great screen performances. It lifts the film
out of the doldrums.
REVIEWED ON 10/5/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ