Review: Mojave

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William Monahan has stated that Mojave is definitely not a neo-noir film, which seems to be a strange thing to say. The reason this film came to my attention is because of most of the reviews I read on this film stated it was a modern L.A. noir or a neo noir. The other reason this seems strange is that Monahan has done nothing but neo noir and noirish work for the last 10 years!

This film is based around Tom played by Garrett Hedlund, who is a filmmaker from Hollywood. When he wrecks his vehicle out in the Mojave, he meets Jack, played by Oscar Isaac. Jack is a cold blooded serial killer and when Tom gets the upper hand a cat and mouse game of epic proportions begins.

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As themes of murder, drug dealing movie producers, accidental murder, revenge and a dark look at the film industry are all themes that may appear in a neo noir and also appear in this film. With most all the film shot in low light areas and at night making it very neo noir in style as well. So why would Monahan say this is not a neo noir film?

After watching this film, I would say it falls solidly in the neo noir genre and feel Monahan was saying this film is more than a genre picture. With elements of a modern day western and dialog from a arthouse film, it is more than a neo noir film. I have enjoyed most everything Monahan has written and I like his eye for direction, even if some of the reviews and ratings are not that favorable for his work. I love the way he writes a conversation, though these conversations seem a little too smart for the characters that are speaking them, they are very entertaining and original. Though he is known more for his writing and this is only the second film he has directed, I liked the look of this film and look forward to seeing what he does next.

Mark Wahlberg and Walton Goggins shine in smaller roles.

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Mojave has not really found an audience yet and some of those that have seen it have not been kind. I really enjoyed this film on many levels and think neo noir fans will enjoy it too, even if the writer/director was hoping for a wider fan base.

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Review: Calvary

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Calvary opens in a confessional as the confessor tells the priest he is going to kill him in one week.  The confessor tells him he was raped by priests for 5 years and now he is going to get payback.  Our protagonist is not a rapist, he is a good priest, and that is why he is being targeted.  Our unknown villain wants to kill a good priest, because killing a bad priest would not bring as much attention.  Our good priest is played by Brandon Gleeson who fits this part well.  We follow him through out his week as he talks to his parishioners in a small Irish town. Our hero goes through many trial and tribulations through out this week, all these make him question his own beliefs as evil seems to close in on him.

The supporting cast is an eclectic collection of people.  Along the week he engages with all these people, each losing their own way in the Catholic Church for a variety of reasons.  I would love to go into these, but I think that will take away from this film.  All I will say is Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Marie-Josée Croze and Aidan Gillen play four of the best supporting characters.  This covers some dark material, many of which would have to be covered when dealing with the Catholic Church, but it also shows how between the Church and the economy, small town Ireland is in a bad place.  This really delves into what is good and right and what is wrong and evil, as well as what is a sin in today’s world.  John Michael McDonagh writes and directs this film, it is his 3rd movie and I look forward to his 4th movie, War on Everyone.  War on Everyone has a great concept and a cast that includes Garrett Hedlund, Guy Pearce and Michael Peña.

I think this trailer sums it up well without spoiling too much:

This movie is something very original and I think you will enjoy it.