Directed by Peter Weir, Produced by Saul Zaentz, Written by Paul Schrader, starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren & River Phoenix.
Allie Fox (Ford) is an inventor who loves America too much to watch it go down the tube, a direction in which he believes his nation is irrevocably heading. He moves his family from the American corn belt to the Amazon rainforest, with the goal of building a communal utopia. Allie’s biggest enemy in the rainforest is not a Christian missionary, with whom he clashes at every opportunity, but his own megalomaniacal tendencies. Can a family build Eden with their father thinks he is God?
THE MOSQUITO COAST was the second partnership of Weir and Ford, following WITNESS, which earned Ford his only Oscar nomination. As ambitious as WITNESS was for a star whom audiences expect to always play a matinee hero, THE MOSQUITO COAST is as far as Ford has ever pushed himself. Allie is an off-the-reservation, gone-native certified nut-case. Ford plays him as a man who is 100% convinced that he is right.
It’ll finish Thursday.
It’s not a very good trailer, but it’s all IMDB offers.
AFTER THOUGHT from 10.29.09
I have not read Paul Theroux’s 1982 novel on which THE MOSQUITO COAST was based. As a story, the film could arguably seen as a reaction to Reaganomics and the decline of the working class. In one of the more memorably un-Ford moments, Allie bitterly and sarcastically berates the owner of a hardware store not only for carrying merchandise made in China, but for not even stocking the supplies Allie needs for his next invention. Allie reasons that, if Americans still respected innovation, the get-your-hands-dirty jobs where progress occurs would not be sent overseas.
While these concerns make for a very 1980’s story, the film would have been equally at home among the more character-driven movies of the 70’s. This is not so much a beginning, middle and end tale as it is a psychological and spiritual trip for a man at odds with everything he sees. Many films resort to devices like dream sequences to explore this territory. THE MOSQUITO COAST instead uses exquisite photography by John Seale, of a wide open jungle teaming with life but mostly barren of humanity, to make its metaphors.