Mona Lisa

A small time crook gets out of jail and gets in touch with his old boss to ask for a job. His assignment is to drive a prostitute around to swanky hotels as she makes her nightly rounds. As time passes he begins to strike up a friendship with her and she reveals to him that she had been a streetwalker before she managed to transition into the safer and more lucrative world of high end prostitution. She’s worried about a friend of hers who might still be on the street, who might still be with her abusive pimp, who might still be hooked on heroin. He then sets on a voyage into the darkest parts of London, exploring sex clubs and dark alleyways looking for a young girl who might well be dead or past saving.

The beginning of the hunt is perfect for what it is: all of the clubs are seedy, the atmosphere is always dark, Bob Hoskins is repulsed but  curious despite himself. But then the movie goes and fucks it all up, because all of a sudden a Genesis song pops up on the soundtrack and plays for a solid minute or two. You know, Genesis: the band that everyone knows as being the hardest, darkest band of the 80’s. Phil Collins is exactly the sort of man that would write a moody song that would be able to mix melancholy and anger in the perfect doses to match the emotion of the scene it was being layered onto.

Look, I get it. It was 1986 and Genesis was huge at the time. I get that at the time director Neil Jordan didn’t have much of a name and so getting an original song from such a popular group probably felt like a coup. I understand why that happened. But it’s such a shame because the rest of this movie is so moody and competent that that one scene stuck out like a sore thumb.

Winner: Me 90%; the cat 10%

Mona Lisa on IMDB