14 March 2016 | jackgradis
Isaac's performance and strong dialogue carry Mojave
Mojave follows a depressed/possibly suicidal artist who goes to the desert and encounters a homicidal drifter. I had heard nothing but terrible things about this film, and anticipated it to be my first "bad" film of 2016. Nevertheless, while very flawed and lacking a true protagonist, Mojave is a self-awarely pretentious physcological thriller featuring another fantastic performance from Oscar Isaac.
What this film ultimately boils down to is a battle of wits between Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hudland's characters. Hudland is good for what he is given, but his character isn't given much depth to work with, and you just have to take small drops of knowledge you learn about him to piece together who he is as a character. His role is similar to most characters he typically plays, and he plays the part well.
Oscar Isaac continues his streak of greatness, having fun in a role similar to what he did in Ex Machina. He gets to show off his funny and darker side, and is very convincing in his role. Isaac's presence is felt throughout the film, even when he is not on screen. Truly an underrated performance by an actor who is taking over Hollywood.
William Monahan wrote and directed this film, and he earned an Academy Award for penning The Departed. Monahan crafts a very fascinating script with Mojave. It's pretentious, but it knows it's pretentious, and uses that as a tool for its characters to go back and forth at one another with. I definitely get what he was going for, and I dug most of it. Some fascists are very underwritten however, and while attempting to balance two tones, the film gets lost in itself from time to time.
Overall, Mojave is a deeply flawed film, but a bold, knowledgeably pretentious one, that includes some good thrills. Isaac is phenomenal yet again, having a blast in his role and leaving a lasting impression on the film as a whole. It won't be winning any awards, and most viewers will be turned off by it, but Mojave is a fascinating thriller, and one I recommend if you go in with the right expectations.