The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast ★★★

“This is a historic occasion.” 

Me five minutes into the film : HOLY SHIT !! Is that Jason Alexander ?! 
Me five minutes before the film ends : 
I miss Jason Alexander. 

The Mosquito Coast is a film from 1986 directed by the great Peter Weird in which a man takes his family into the jungles of Central American to start anew. 

Weir shows a lot of range while directing the film. In some scenes his direction is high energy and fast paced to make us feel the rapidness of the situation and thankfully some scenes are very natural, slowly paced (maybe a little too slow paced if you know what I’m talking about) and truly love in the moment. 

The acting is quite solid all around. 
River Phoenix does a really good job at playing the eldest son of the family and I enjoyed his narration for the most part. The problem with Phoenix’s character is that he doesn’t have as much screen time as we should to fully invest with him. Phoenix is supposed to be the point of view character but because of the disconnect we alternatively feel as if we are on the outside looking in. Helen Mirren is really good in the film but the writing for her character is utter trash. Apart from one outburst, Mirren seems to completely fine with everything Ford does and is the most uncomplaining wife I’ve ever seen put on film. There are literally multiple moments where Ford puts the families lives in grave danger and Mirren is just nodding her head. Her character didn’t work for me in the slightest and it felt like nobody really cared about giving this character any depth. But.... out of all the performers, this is totally Harrison Fords movie. Ford is perfection in this film, this film is littered with problems but Ford, definitely is not one of them. The way that Ford presented the overarching madness of Fox was mesmerising to watch. One of Fords all time best character performances. 

The setup for the film is brilliant. The introduction to Fox conveys to the audience exactly how he feels and who he is as a character. Fox feels like the world is imploding upon itself. We also learn that Fox is incredibly intelligent but is also in way over his head. This honestly makes it very believable when Fox decides to make the move to the island. I do wish that Schrader’s screenplay spent more time with the family prior to the move to further encapsulate the hatred that Fox encompasses. 

Just like pretty much all of Schrader’s works, the film juggles moral questions but also is very biblical in nature. Fords character tries to play god, he even thinks of himself as a saviour and a prophet. Schrader asks the question : is it okay for humans to play god. I think this question is extremely interesting and a very important thing to ask. I enjoyed the way the film handled this moral conflict and it is easily one of the highlights of the film. 

It’s just weird when you watch a film that is written by Paul Schrader but the screenplay is littered with issues. The film also feels like it is pulling its punches and heavily holding back. The film had me in the first half but the writing just didn’t sustain. 

“I think about you when I go to the bathroom.” 

Recommend me some films !

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