The Mosquito Coast

1986, Movie, R, 117 mins

Review

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A courageous and serious film that explores the limits of the mythic American virtues of persistence, inventiveness, and rugged individualism. Allie Fox (Harrison Ford) is an eccentric inventor, a wildly optimistic can-do kind of guy. Disgusted with what he perceives to be a dying America, Fox takes his wife (Helen Mirren) and four children, including 15-year-old Charlie (River Phoenix), to an unsettled area near Honduras called the Mosquito Coast. Fox buys the deed to an isolated town that turns out to be nothing but a few shacks and a handful of residents. But he mercilessly pushes his family, the locals, and himself, driven by an obsessive desire to recreate society along Utopian lines. His dream world is shaken when three gun-toting terrorists show up. Unfortunately, as Fox's dreams and sanity begin to fall apart, so does the film, but it's memorable and intense up to that point. Schrader's screenplay, based on an allegorical novel by Paul Theroux, suggests that the very qualities that allow people and nations to achieve greatness may also plant the seeds of future destruction. leave a comment

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