The Mosquito Coast [DVD] 
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THE MOSQUITO COAST DVD (1986) STARRING HARRISON FORD AND HELEN MIRREN. American Allie Fox is a genius - especially when it comes to anything mechanical - and an idealist. He dropped out of Harvard to become an inventor, he now with nine patents and six pending. He loves the US, but is disillusioned by what it has become in so many different facets. As such, he unilaterally decides to uproot his family - his wife who he affectionately calls "Mother", their two sons Charlie and Jerry, and their twin daughters April and Clover - from their comfortable New England life to move to the jungles of Central America, most specifically Mosquitia. There, he hopes to start from scratch to build a society closer to his own ideals - his utopia. He believes he is doing this not just for himself, but for his family, as he wants his children to learn from real life as opposed to from books. Allie will learn that he may have his own view of what he wants to achieve, but that there are external forces, both human and non-human, that may conspire against him. Outwardly, chief amongst his human obstacles is missionary, Reverend Spellgood, whose work Allie believes is solely narcissistic propaganda. In turn, Reverend Spellgood believes Allie is a communist. But what may be lurking underneath the surface as another obstacle is Allie's own family, who may ultimately rebel against something in which they had no input, especially as Allie has a policy of anyone being free to leave if they want, but be excommunicated from the family forever. Allie, too, will have to decide how far he will go to achieve his ultimate dream.
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Top Customer Reviews
I decline from awarding the DVD of this film a full 5 marks due to the lack of extras-a documentary and an interview or two would have made the purchase of this DVD essential for all serious film fans.
I'll admit to a little bias, this is my favourite film. I love those others too, so maybe if you liked them it's worth checking this one out. BBC2 show it from time to time. I only wish they would release it on DVD.
The film is a pretty close reproduction of Paul Theroux's book of the same name. BBC2 fans will know of the author's son, Louis, from his weird weekends and off beat interviews.
The action starts in typical America - predictable, arid, and swamped with Japanese imports... our (anti-)hero, maverick inventor Allie Fox (Harrison Ford) decides to uproot his wife and family (Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, etc), and relocate them all to a remote jungle town where they are to live in a utopia far removed from the modern world, but also far removed from what the native people are used to.
Of course this tense paradise cannot last, and the story unfolds with conflicts-a-plenty: undiscovered jungle tribes; bible bashing missionaries, and gun toting mercenaries.
The film is narrated by Allie's son Charlie (River Phoenix) in perhaps his best role before his untimely death. The feel of the picture is almost undescribable.. the cinematograpy awe-inspiring without being cliche.. the acting flawless, story captivating...
In short.. a little known masterpiece from an otherwise well known director
Very underrated when it was released, it deserves to be rediscovered, because it the first time you see Harrison Ford in such an unsettling and unappealing role, perfectly embodying the crazy and frustrated enthusiasm of a modern family man facing freedom and absence of rules.
Weir's film confirms and maybe pushes forward his pessimistic yet vital and almost primitive vision of life, which, under different disguise, we will find in his entire filmography, from Dead Poets Society to Green Card, from Gallipoli to the Last Wave, from the Years of living dangerously to Witness, from Truman Show to Master and Commander up to Fearless.
Visually stunning, my only regret is that this Dvd (one of the fewest edition available around) has a strange 4:3 ratio (which respect the original film ratio) so you must work a little on your tv or blu ray before setting it right.
Worth buying anyway, although it would deserve a blu ray transfer quality
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should have been a great Movie but after the Movie kept stopping and I just lost interest in it and never got to see the end,I bought this movie but was a waste of money.Published 9 months ago by Francis Miskimmon
Another brilliant film from my childhood.such a good film great for my river phoenix collection and one of helen mirrens early films. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Boody
Yet another Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Apocalypse Now, Fitzcarraldo type film about the White Man’s Graveyard that occurs when Westerners seek a simple life in foreign climes. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Frank TALKER