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Mona Lisa (1986)

Mona Lisa. Feature film. (1986, 104 mins) IMDB

...interesting characters, but is George really that stupid?...

G

eorge gets out of prison and goes to his wife's home with a bouquet of flowers. He sees her and his teenaged daughter. The daughter doesn't know him. The mother screams and yells. He runs off in shame and becomes angry. We see he can be violent if he wants and one look at Bob Hoskins and you know he can be violent. His friend Thomas comes to the rescue.

His next stop is to buy a white bunny rabbit and does. He takes it to his former boss played by Michael Caine except his boss is nowhere to be found. I'm not sure why a grown man would buy a bunny rabbit for another grown man. It's quite odd. The rabbit shows up in the climax and still I'm not sure what the hell it's supposed to represent. My only guess is that George is a bit dense and stupid. Maybe. Is George a reference to George in Steinbeck's OF MICE AND MEN? Not likely.

In going to his boss, he expects payback. He spent seven years in jail for his boss and wants a job in return. He gets it. He has a car and drives a high-end call girl around West London. The relationship between the two forms the bulk of the story.

She doesn't like him. He's glad to have something to do. She gives him money to buy new cloths--it seems he's wearing the same suit he wore when he went into prison--a little snug and out of fashion. His choice of clothes upsets her. A leather jacket, a loud shirt, a gold chain. Guido on screen. She takes him to a fine clothing store and buy him shirts, ties, suits, an overcoat.

Each night after her tricks, she asks him to drive her to the street walking area. Here we see a stream of street pros and johns. Night after night until she confides in him and explains she's looking for Cathy. She used to work the streets with Cathy but lost touch and wants to find her. George goes looking.

What surprised me about this sequence was the ability of George to go and do things you and I wouldn't know about and yet when he looks closer he finds another world. It's as if he's seeing the life of these women for the first time. How they are drugged and abused in order to maintain the cash flow. How could he not know? Yet, he seems to have not and it bothers him. At one point he says, "I have a daughter that age." Was he blind before? Stupid? Wasn't interested in finding out? All of these things? What's clear is he's changing as a man. He starts to do the right thing.

When he finds Cathy, it turns out she was under the control of his boss. He takes her away and thus begins Act III.

He takes her to Brighton--a place Simone talked of spending a summer. Simone and Thomas join them. By this point he has fallen in love with Simone and thinks she has as well. After all, he's helped her. Helped her find Cathy and brought her to safety. Helped her get away from Anderson, her former pimp, who has grudge.

As the two of them walk the boardwalk in Brighton, they are confronted by Anderson and his henchmen. The chase is on. They escape but when they return to the hotel suite, his boss with the bunny rabbit is waiting. Anderson and company return. There's a fight and Simone pulls out the revolver George obtained. She shoots Anderson and the boss and Anderson once more. She points the gun at George. He realizes he's been screwed by her. Manipulated by her. He tells her to shoot, but she doesn't. He wrestles the gun away from her. It's the last we see of her.

He finally learns another lesson about women who screw for money. He was duped.

The film ends with George walking with his friend Thomas and his daughter.

All the characters in this film are easy to understand except one--the lead character George. He's not a one-note person. Violent at times. Compassionate at times. He cares for his daughter, Simone and Thomas. He seems street smart but then just plain dumb. Perhaps this is a story to show the maturation of this person. It's the only thing that makes sense to me at this moment, yet it seems too obvious.

Posted 2009/04/20 at 19h22ET in Movie Commentary.

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