Mojave- A Film Nerd Post.

LOOK NO FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT DETAILS FROM THE MOVIE, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Quick plot, Thomas (Hedlund) is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and works on movies. He has a crisis and drives out to the desert. His car gets wrecked and he spend the night at the desert where he meets Jack (Isaac). In the uncomfortable encounter they get into a fight. Thomas, hides out in a cave. When someone comes to the mouth of the cave he awakes from his sleep and shoots. It was not Jack, but a police officer. The plot unfolds.

Alright, so after this I have concluded that spooky Los Angeles movies are full-out spooky.
This is told with a quiet sort of terror, the fear that the threat of Jack brings. It’s a real story of stalking and suspense builds but then there are breaks from that as Thomas has to carry on with the problems he had before the desert. It’s cool to see how he tries to live his life while balancing this guy who is out to kill him and the fact that he killed someone.

Hedlund and Isaac both give performances that are enthralling.

I realized that I have a real thing for characters who are foils. In this case they are not foils in that they are very different but they almost seem like two outcomes of the same person. I’d like to think that maybe the whole movie did not happen, that there really was no Jack but the talks and destruction of him was Thomas’ way of dealing with himself and his conflicts. I don’t think the story was an illusion, I just think it’s interesting to think of Mojave as a psyhological experiment of beginning again.
Thinking about this split-personality (as in Jack and Thomas have the same interests, skills, almost same mindset are not, in fact, the same) makes sense following William Monahan’s (the writer and director) trajectory. The Departed, which he wrote, concerns itself greatly with duality and different personalities within a person (See: Remakes and Remaking- Chapter “Hellish Departures?”), whether it is the split personalities of Costigan’s upbringing in two sides of Boston that made him perfect to go undercover or Sullivan’s facade of being a cop while helping Costello. It doesn’t surprise me that this Monahan film carries on with this same theme.
I feel like there is an essay to be written here about “schizophrenic” type characters and what they mean in these movies.

On the topic of Scorsese, when Jack came on screen there was something I couldn’t quite pinpoint about how he talked that I recognized. A few minutes later my mom said “is he like Cape Fear?” and I thought “oohhhhhh, that’s who I’m thinking of”. There are some similarities to Max Cady (at least the DeNiro version I’ve seen) besides how he talked such as the stalking and just how scary he was. I mean, when Jack goes to the theatre to watch the same play Thomas was watching is a parallel to Cady finding the Bowdens in Cape Fear. Though when one is kind of a movie nerd finding parallels is not hard so maybe I am reaching too much. Speaking of reaching, I liked Jack’s bandana and it reminded me of Harvey Keitel’s in Taxi Driver which made it click for me that Scorsese references makes sense as Monahan has worked with him before.

The movie is one I found genuinely interesting and there were parts with super tense suspense. It is stylistically gorgeous, even down to what the characters wear, Lots of philosophy, talking, and  interesting performances. Why not spend 90 minutes in the desert?

-Sara.

The book I referred to earlier is “Remakes and Remaking: Concepts- Media- Practices” by Rüdiger Heinze and Lucia Krämer. The chapter on The Departed is Hellish Depatures? The Departed, Infernal Affairs and Globalized Film Cultures . You can find the book at Columbia University Press here.

 

 

 

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Mojave- Pensive, Spooky, Beautiful.

Let me give all of you a backstory of my relationship with this movie.

Okay, not relationship, but story.
Many months ago (about last August) I was on IMDb looking at Garrett Hedlund’s profile to see what he was up to ’cause I like a lot of movies he is in (See: On The Road, Tron: Legacy, Inside Llewyn Davis).
I saw this movie, Mojave, and it caught my eye and very much my attention because it was a desert-set, kind of road movie from what I could see. I loooooove the South-Western desert in the U.S. Sure, I’ve never been but it always looks gorgeous in movies.
When I found out more about the movie I saw that it was about a writer and a drifter and desert drama and I this just sounded like the kinda thing I would like.
Note: At this pre-The Force Awakens time Oscar Isaac was mostly the guy from Llewyn Davis to me.
So I followed it, reading boards to get any information on distribution but nothing seemed to be happening. In one thread someone mentioned the movie reminded them of The Rover, a movie I was very impressed with, which made me want this movie to get distributed even more.

FINALLY, it got released and I rented it (support your local video stores, if you will).

I really liked the movie. A lot.

First off, I found the look of the movie beautiful. Everything is in warm tones but not quite earthy. And it’s not washed-out either, which I think it’s easy to do with sunny deserts.
Agh, I’m caught between wanting to talk about the movie a lot and in detail and not saying much so if someone reads this and watches it they’ll see the events unfold without knowing what will happen.

Alright, the movie can get heavy and dark but it also has moments of humour that fit into the movie instead of being awkwardly inserted for relief.
It is dialogue-based which is one of the reasons I liked it. Many scenes of just back-and-forth discussion.

If you get the DVD/BLU-RAY/can watch the special features, I definitely recommend looking at the deleted scenes because some really quality content got cut out. I specially liked the one with the twins, I think it was number 11.

It is pensive but not pretentious. It can get really chilling but it’s also about relationships and grounded problems. I found that everyone did a great ob so that the movie was just a pleasure to watch. Hedlund and Isaac made minutes and minutes of dialogue interesting, tense, and almost hypnotizing. Among the suspense in the movie there is a lot of frustration with the film industry and with being creative and also a more chilled-out sort of pace. It is definitely not a breakneck, no-time-to-breathe-or-blink movie. Sit back and watch, y’all.