Opening on a clip of our so called protagonist – whose job never becomes quite clear – Thomas sees Jack in the midst of what I guess can be called a breakdown, the likes of which served only to make me think of Justin Bieber and his recent self-destructive behaviour.
Whilst Mojave markets itself as an action thriller, it comes across a little more like a film festival drama for the first half an hour. Lost in the desert a self-destructive temper tantrum, starting fights with wild animals, Thomas is seen struggling with some unspoken demons and seemingly trying to create trouble for himself to express them, in a faux-deep display of angst. That is until he is found by Jack (Oscar Isaac), a desert dwelling vagrant. His intentions are never made quite clear, though he does bring with him a loaded shotgun. For some reason, the tense exchange becomes physical – yet again a display of self-destructive behaviour? – until Thomas finds himself attacking Jack and running off to hide.
Things take a turn for the worst, and long story short, leave Jack on the hunt for Thomas as he returns to his overly privileged Hollywood lifestyle, where he proceeds to cheat on his wife – though I should point out, not with a Hollywood bimbo, but rather a very strong and independent actress whose tagline should be “shut up, I do what I want” (though I should point out that she is, still, a certifiable ass hole) – and argue with his film partner, Mark Wahlberg. I’d like to take this moment to appreciate Wahlberg in this film as he is without a doubt the best thing in it.
Whilst there isn’t a character shown who isn’t a total prick, Wahlberg is such a prick that it makes him a joy to watch (Ed: Isn’t that his whole career?) His exchanges between his PA almost make it worth the ticket price just for those moments.
Unfortunately, Wahlberg aside, there’s little more to this film than a thinly veiled attempt at a cat and mouse chase. Though there are some good ideas, some beautiful shots, and some excellent performances (Oscar Isaac), and some strong star klout (Oscar Isaac), something seems amiss; the plot seems to lose its hold, or perhaps it never quite materialises.
There was also something wanting in Thomas’ apparent emotional disturbance. Described as “I’ve been famous since I was 19,” he seemed wrought with the desperate need to envelop himself in dangerous situations to feel alive. You know, like Bella from Twilight. In fact, I can’t think of a better character comparison. Dull and self-righteous, and leaning on every other character in order to move the story along.
As for Oscar Isaac’s character, here are the notes I have: he’s nuts, his mum may or may not have been a prostitute, he lives in the desert, he’s happy to kill people, but less so dogs.
Whilst there are some undeniably strong scenes between the two, and some perfect comedic relief in the shape of Wahlberg, we’re left grasping at the luxury threads of a movie blanket that someone forgot to weave.
In another life, with a better script, Mojave could have made it as a gripping thriller. Not a waste of time, nor is it completely terrible, but more or less a swing and a miss in this case.
MOJAVE IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW!