The Mosquito Coast is directed by Peter Weir and adapted to screenplay by Paul Schrader from the novel of the same name written by Paul Theroux. it stars Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, Conrad Roberts and Andre Gregory. Music is scored by Maurice Jarre and cinematography by John Searle. Story sees Ford as Allie Fox, an inventor who has grown tired of what he sees as the disintegration of America. With his family in tow, Allie heads for what he hopes to be a happier life in the jungles of Central America. Building a self sufficient utopia, things start swimmingly, but can it last? Where does Allie's ambition end?
I have never read the novel, but I have it on good authority that it's cracker-jack stuff. Viewing this brilliant film, I regret not having indulged in the source material first. With that out the way, I can say that Peter Weir's film held me in an vice like grip throughout, it proved to be utterly compelling and beautiful to look at, yet as Allie Fox's ambitions and mindset begin to alter, a bleakness hones in to view and looms large over the picture. Propelled by a quite excellent performance by Ford, his own personal favourite and a film he stands strong in support of, film asks questions of man's place in the imperfect world, idealism and religious fervour; both pro and con. It's a bold and intelligent screenplay by Schrader, which only falters slightly with a mixed message come the denouement. Away from Ford and Searle's sharp photography, Phoenix and Mirren provide very strong support and Weir, a most undervalued director, paces it with his customary slow burn precision.
A hidden gem of the 80s and on Ford's CV, The Mosquito Coast is the kind of adult cinema we could do with more of these days. 9/10