THE MOSQUITO COAST
The Mosquito Coast (PG) (Peter Weir US, 1986) Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix. 119 mins. ‘Goodbye America, and have a nice day!’ trumpets a jubilant Allie Fox, inventor, handyman and inveterate tinkerer, as he and his tamin sail oil into the wide blue yonder in search of a paradise that Allie believes can only be Iound by starting atresh in the jungles of South America, unimpeded bythe marvels ol the modern world or the dubious technological advances of so-called civilisation. Ahead lies simplicity, purity, rebirth in‘a new Eden of his own creation. It is a bold move from a rare individualist; the adventure oI a liletime. The scenario, of course, does not unfold in quite the anticipated manner.
Allie is a man with a mission. His greatest invention, ‘Fat Boy’, is a mechanical wonder that can turn lire into ice. Allie’s dream is to bring ice into the jungle as a gift to the locals. He has bought a small town called Jeronimo and intends to save his lamin from an impending nuclear holocaust by creating their own self-sufficient community based on the sweat of honest labour and the ingenuity of his fertile mind.
Unfortunately, as a vision of Utopia gives way to a smudged impression of reality, Allie can neither recognise his loolhardiness nor admit to his errors. Jeronimo consists of only a tew dilapidated huts and some bewildered natives. His gift of ice melts before he can present itto an Indian tribe. Whie mercenaries are already present as the snake in his Eden. Yet, with every setback he insists that efforts are redoubled, every sour deIeat is met with a stern order to try harder. As the Swiss Family Robinson-ster dream turns into a living hell, Allie grows ever more blinkered to the awful results of his actions and the consequences tor histamily. Compulsive, obsessed,
driven onwards towards the recedineg unobtainable, tor Allie it becomes a case at do or die.
Towering over the whole concept and execution of The Mosquito Coast, Harrison Ford gives of himself unstintingly in his sustained and incisive portrait of Fox's descent from sell-righteous eccentricityto untettered madness. It is a performance ol which he can be justifiably proud. Howeve,r such is his domination ol the proceedings that the lilm becomes almost as unbalanced as its main character. One can certainly sympathise with his dismissive disregard lorthe junk food, television game show mentality of the contemporary Western world. One can appreciate his desire to break away from the smothering restraints of petty men who do not possess his breadth ot vision. One can even admire the man’s apparently irresistible charisma that charms both tamin and others to trail contentedly in his wake. However, there is no counterpoint to Allie, His largely uncritical wite and tamin are almost relegated to the sidelines and his Nemesis, religious zealot Dr
Spellgood, lacks the authority to make a real impact. The laults at these characters are ingrained in the film itself which lacks a perspective on the man— is he to be admired or reviled, regarded as a dreamer or a devil? Peter Weir merely presents him tor our fascination, unencumbered with ironic
comment or insight. Without these elements, Fox becomes just another
lunatic at large, whose sheer insanity is insufficient to sustain interest over a two-hourfilm or provoke a compassionate understanding at his crucial influence on the development of his teenage son Charlie (River Phoenix) from whose viewpoint the story is recounted.
The film is, of course, spectacularly photographed, with moments of undoubted high drama and Ford’s performance to commend it butthere is an overall impression that it just doesn’twork. Overlong, unbalanced and with no sense at its own purpose, it is a film of courageous intent and noble Iailure. Worthy ot the effort it entailed, but lacking the triumph of a satisfying completion. (Allan Hunter)
Newton-John. Eve Arden. 110 mins. One of the most commercially successful films ever made. Grease is an energetic but arch homage to the teen culture of the Fifties with Travolta and Newton-John falling in and out of ‘summer love‘ depending on how cool they have to appear to their peers. Now. apparently. being re-diseovered for its camp potential (which always seemed its main purpose anyway). Edinburgh; Cameo 0 Hannah and Her Sisters ( 15) (Woody Allen. US. 1986) Woody Allen. Michael Caine. Mia Farrow. 107 mins. A mellow. meaningful riposte to the gloom-ridden Interiors. Hannah is an upbeat celebration ofthe cohesion and support withint the family unit as several couples fall in and out of love. over the changing seasons. Blessed with a terrific ensemble ‘ cast.thefilmisachinglyfunny. touching and extremely perceptive. Edinburgh; Filmhouse 0 Highlander ( 15) (Russell Mulcahy. US. 1986) Christopher Lambert. Sean Connery. Beatie Edney. 116
mins. A handful ofimmortals battle through the centuries to win a mythical prize. Inelegant. often ludicrous but mainly enjoyable daffy fantasy adventure. Edinburgh: Marco‘s Cinema
0 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (PG) (Steven Spielberg. US. 1984) Harrison Ford. Kate Capshaw. Roshan Seth. 117 mins. Only the tiniest bit inferior to its forbear this outing finds Indy in the Shanghai of 1935 taking on the might ofa thugee cult. Edinburgh; ()deon. o Jagged Edge ( 18) (Richard Marquand. US. 1985) Glenn Close. JeffBridges. 109 mins. Bridges stands accused of the brutal slaying ofhis wealthy wife. Close is the defence‘lawyer whose involvment with her client dangerously blends
business and pleasure. Old-fasioned,
unremarkable courtroom whodunnit. Edinburgh; Cameo
0 Kiss of the Spiderwoman (15) (Ileetor Babenco. US-Brazil. 1985) William Hurt. Raul Julia. Sonia Braga. 121 mins. Two men share a prison cell. victims in their idividual ways of an unspecified fascist
regime. One is a flamboyant homosexual. the other a macho revolutionary. The pain of their confinement ultimately bn'ngs mutual understanding. love and a moving exchange. of roles. Glasgow; GET
0 Last Tango in Paris ( 18) (Bernardo Bertolucci. Italy-France. 1972) Marlon Brando. Maria Schneider. 130 mins. A young Parisienne meets a middle-aged man with whom she develops an increasingly violent and purely sexual relationship.
One of the key films of its decade. Bertolucci's powerful drama is a meditation on the expression and communication ofpersonal identity through intense sexual contact. Brando excels. Glasgow; GF'I'
0 To Live and Die in LA ( 18) (William Friedkin. US. 1986) William I. Petersen. William Dafoe. 116 mins. Director William Friedkin has a go at updating his earlier The French Connection in this violent and cynical thriller. which follows the
trail of two unscrupulous FBI agents
on the trail of a psychotic counterfeiter. As in its predecessor
the highlight is an astonishing car chase. this time along the wrong side ofa freeway at rush-hour. Robbie Muller‘s luminescent photography is quite extraordinary at times. Edinburgh; Filmhouse
o The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (15) (Margarethe Von 'I'rotta and Volker Schlondorff. West Germany. 1975) Angela Winkler. Mario Adorf. 106 mins. A young woman takes a man home she meets at a party. but the next morning finds her flat surrounded as police search for a suspected terrorist. Soon she becomes reviled as a terrorist/whore in adaily scandal sheet.
Thoughtful dissection ofpress ‘freedom' and its unwitting victims. Edinburgh; Filmhouse 0 Love and Death (PG ) (Woody Allen. US. 1975) Woody Allen. Diane Keaton. 82 mins. Fizzy. sharp—witted Allen satire. blending elements ofBob Hope. War and Peace and the Marx Brothers. A real side-splitter. Edinburgh; Cameo o The Man With Two Brains ( 15) (Carl Reiner. US. 1983) Steve Martin. Kathleen Turner. David Warner. 93 mins. Zany Martin-Reiner romp in which the great man plays a brilliant brain surgeon driven to the depths of despair when he weds Turner. a man-hungry murderess with a penchant for driving elderly husbands to early graves and pocketing their legacies. Delirioust delightful. Edinburgh; Filmhouse o Mishima: A Lite In Four Parts ( 15) (Paul Schrader. US-Japan. 1985) Ken ()gota. 120mins. Restrained. unconventional biopic of controversial novelist Yukio Mishima. interweaving straight biographical narrative. stylised dramatisations ofexcerpts from his novels and a documentary-style reconstruction of his final day. Ambitious but a little cold. Edinburgh; Edinburgh Film Guild
0 The Mission ( 15) (Roland Jot'fe. UK. 1986) Jeremy Irons. Robert de Niro. Ray McAnally. 125 mins. In 18m century South America. a Papal Prelate is called in to resolve a territorial dispute. but his decision is dictated by the political climate in Europe and is to have ramifications for a mission run by Jesuit priests.
Nominated for seven ()scars
including Best Picture. The .llr'ssr'un is an operatic film ofconsiderable depth and power.
Glasgow; Grosvenor. Lothian Cannon. Strathclyde; Cannon Greenock. Cannon Kilmarnoek. Kelburne. ()deon I Iamilton
0 Mona Lisa (18) (NeilJordan. UK. 1986) Bob Hoskins. Cathy Tyson. Michael Caine. 10-1 mins. Brilliantly acted. multi award-winning British poetic realism with a striking emotional punch. Essential viewing. Edinburgh: Dominion. Glasgow; OFF
0 Monty Python’s Meaning of Lite ( 18) (TerryJones. US. 1983) Eric Idle. Graham Chapman. Michael Palin. 90mins. Uneven Python humour combining songs. sketches and general ruminations on the human timescale from birth to death. Glasgow; Grosvenor
o More Bad News ( 18) 2*: (Adrian
10 The List 20 March — 2 April