William Monahan made his name writing screenplays. His work on Body of Lies and Kingdom of Heaven was widely praised but it’s his treatment for The Departed which made him famous, receiving an Oscar for his troubles. Following a well-trodden path, Monahan moved behind the camera, but his first film, London Boulevard, only received mixed reviews. His new film, Mojave, is more focused but also displays some of the same weaknesses.
Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) is an alcoholic artist on the verge of ending it all. He goes out to the Mojave desert with this in mind when he encounters Jack (Oscar Isaac), a mysterious drifter. One thing leads to another, and after a confrontation Thomas accidentally kills a police officer. Attempting to cover his tracks, he flees hoping to pin the crime on Jack. However, Jack has other ideas, tracking him down and determined to take his revenge.
There’s much to admire about Mojave. Whilst a Hollywood artist going bad is hardly new territory, there’s a strong central story. It’s well paced and Hedlund put in a believable performance. Whilst the conceit of Jack and Thomas being one in the same is hardly revolutionary, it’s very well done. However, Isaac is given some dreadful dialogue which becomes increasingly annoying and there’s an overly intrusive soundtrack which spoils any real tension. That being said, Mojave is still an entertaining ride with an impressive cast and enough invention to keep it interesting.
Mojave is out in cinemas on Friday.