Monday, April 21, 2014

Mona Lisa (1986)

British Gangster Movie #4 (and it’s also the second film in a Bob Hoskins double feature)

Synopsis: Fresh out-of-the-slammer Cockney bloke goes to work for chic hooker, who sort-of likes him, buys him expensive clothes, and... oh my God, it’s Pretty Woman with the roles reversed!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “George (Bob Hoskins) is a small-time loser and eternal victim. Just out of prison after taking the rap on a job for Mortwell (Michael Caine) George is employed as an underling in Mortwell’s vice racket, delivering porn videos and acting as driver/minder to a high-class call girl named Simone.”

What Did I Learn?: A pink-and-blue Hawaiian shirt doesn’t really go with a grey, double-breasted suit... or with anything, for that matter.

You Might Like This Movie If: You figure it must be a two-hour version of, um... this video.

Really?:  1) Funny how the sub-plot involving George’s estranged daughter is introduced, and then never really developed... 2) Wow - how many times do we have to hear Nat King Cole sing "Mona Lisa"?

Rating: Mona Lisa is a slow-moving, but interesting film that starts out as a character-driven drama, and slowly evolves into a thriller. Mona Lisa is definitely the sleaziest of the British Gangster films I’ve reviewed (I’m guessing it was an influence on the makers of 8mm), and the ending is a bit difficult to swallow, but Hoskins and Cathy Tyson work well together (they share a scene on the boardwalk near the end that’s electrifying), while Caine steals every scene as the very menacing Mortwell. 8/10 stars.

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