Mona Lisa [Blu-ray]
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A brilliant film noir, Hoskins earned an Oscar nomination for his performance and really he deserved it. His portrayal of George is complex. While he's a criminal, he's also surprisingly naive and innocent in his own way and the code of conduct he follows in his life reflects much more solid values than that of a petty crook. Michael Caine shines in a pivotal but small role as Mortwell. Caine has never given a performance as nasty and chillingly evil as he does here. Cathy Tyson ("The Serpent and the Rainbow", "Priest") also deserves kudos for her performance as Simone. Although the surface of her character is chilly she hints at the depths of emotion raging beneath the surface of this sophisticated and sad woman.
The Criterion edition of this looks exceptionally good with nice color reproduction and a crisp, sharp picture. It appears that the same master that was used for the 1996 laserdisc was used here, though, and it probably should have been remastered from a new digital transfer. While presented in its original format this isn't an anamorphic transfer that I can tell which is, again, another reason to update this and create a high definition DVD.Read more ›
There's an unforgettable moment, when they're both in tears, hiding behind silly plastic eyeglasses in a garish carnival setting, and, trying to explain her odd situation that he's just beginning to understand, she says, "Haven't you ever needed someone?" and he squeezes out the reply: "All the time."
It's a remarkably tender story in a chokingly ugly environment. Caine is gruesomely sleazy.
I remember seeing this when it first came out, about the time of "Blue Velvet" and "Brazil"; what an amazing era that was! All three movies even had ironically sweet or upbeat theme songs from a few decades before.
Director Neil Jordan later moved on to the weirder pastures of "The Crying Game," and then the glossy jobs "Interview with the Vampire" and now "The End of the Affair," but I still consider this his best -- not to mention Bob Hoskins's most incredible acting work.
Neil Jordan began his career as a writer and is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting film directors nowadays. It's always challenging for the common viewer to watch a movie directed by a former writer. One often wonders why the director has left his books for the cinema. Some of these ex-writers use the camera as if they were handling a pen and the result is dreadful. Or too intellectual. Fortunately, with MONA LISA, Neil Jordan has created a stunning visual world and George and Simone's night wanderings through the London underworld an unforgettable cinematographic journey.
MONA LISA develops a lot of themes that will touch you in a way or in another. The different levels of the movie are so well mingled in the story that you will be able to watch MONA LISA several times and still discover little pearls hidden by the brilliant director. At the end of the movie, I just wanted to check the sound quality of the commentary track recorded in 1996 by Neil Jordan and Bob Hoskins and I found myself trapped into MONA LISA for an immediate second screening.
Apart from the commentary, this Criterion DVD offers the theatrical trailer and a one page written Neil Jordan commentary.
A DVD for your library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THE FILM ARRIVED IN A TIMELY WAY. IT PLAYED FINE. VERY SATISFIED. WILL DO BUSINESS AGAINPublished 17 days ago by STEVEN H.
This movie got pigeon-holed as a neo-noir, but for its first hour it's really more of a light comedy that just happens to take place in brothels and strip joints. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mark C. Jones
Excellent Movie!!!! Great Service!!!! Fed my neo-noir fix!!!!Published 13 months ago by Alan Rinaldo
This crime film with heart is a shining vehicle for the late, great Bob Hoskins. A terrific character actor, Hoskins gives the performance of a lifetime as a driver for a call... Read morePublished 16 months ago by B. Adducchio
A truly excellent film with superb character acting by the late Bob Hoskins (baddie-turned-good) and the beautiful Cathy Tyson. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer S Hughes
You're hooked to the conflict within 8 minutes: a cheap gangster released from prison becomes an upscale prostitute's driver whilst trying to sort out his relationship with his... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lonesome Dove
Maggie Thatcher, the Iron Lady resides in No. 10 and George is back after a seven year stretch in HMP. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Richard Cunningham
Movie is a classic but this transfer had low audio. It was difficult to achieve a good level. Picture was very good.Published 22 months ago by TV Guy