The Mosquito Coast

ALLIE FOX FOLLOWED HIS DREAM TO THE MOSQUITO COAST. HE PLANNED A PARADISE. HE CREATED A HELL.

Inventor Allie Fox (Harrison Ford) takes his family on a trip to Central America, where he hopes to turn his back on a consumeristic United States and create a new society. Peter Weir reunited with Ford after Witness (1985) for this harrowing adaptation of the dystopian novel that provides the star with one of his most challenging roles, as a brilliant but stubborn and misanthropic man who increasingly puts his family in danger. The story takes a critical look at civilization and religion; it also follows young River Phoenix whose idolization of his father falls apart. Well-made, but loses some of its impact as the obvious consequences of Ford’s behavior play out.

1986-U.S. 117 min. Color. Produced by Jerome Hellman. Directed by Peter Weir. Screenplay: Paul Schrader. Novel: Paul Theroux. Cinematography: John Seale. Music: Maurice Jarre. Cast: Harrison Ford (Allie Fox), Helen Mirren (”Mother” Fox), River Phoenix (Charlie Fox), Jadrien Steele, Hilary Gordon, Rebecca Gordon… Martha Plimpton, Butterfly McQueen, Jason Alexander.

Trivia: McQueen’s last film role. Jack Nicholson and Corey Haim were reportedly considered for lead roles.

Last word: “I’ve attempted to eliminate my own style as much as possible, like some sort of personal cultural revolution. I think style can become inhibiting to a long career […] Originally, I shot a very mysterious, Peter Weir-style opening with dark figures on the horizon and all sorts of weird things going on, then I very cleverly revealed what it was. I thought it might be too close to ‘Witness’, but I decided it was just my style. At the dailies everybody was impressed. ‘Wow. This is really you at your best. That music you played over those images – wow! It blew me away.’ I thought about it and thought about it and dropped it all.” (Weir, PeterWeirCave.com)

 

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