Mojave (Blu-ray Review)

mojave coverMojave is described as a taut thriller revolving around a suicidal artist and a homicidal drifter. It comes from writer/director William Monahan (The Departed), who has essentially made the inverse of Seven Psychopaths by writer/director Martin McDonagh. Where that film was clever, self-reflexive and wildly entertaining, Mojave is pompous and dour. Of course, it does feature an off-kilter performance from Oscar Isaac, among other things, so it is time to see how the Blu-ray stacks up.




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Garrett Hedlund stars as Thomas, an artist who has driven out to the Mojave desert with no real agenda other than to get drunk and pester wolves into maybe eating him. Thomas is suffering some kind of crisis involving having too much greatness in his life (mansion, fancy cars, daughter, etc.) and needs to either die or find himself. It’s selfish to say the least, but his plans are interrupted by Jack (Isaac), a drifter who likes to talk a lot and tease the idea of being a sociopath. It all leads to a chain of events where one man ends up stalking the other, with sinister intentions.

In the hands of a director who could have done more to shape the aimless and frustrating screenplay by Monahan, Mojave could have amounted to something more. As it stands, the film does little in the way of favors for itself. The dialogue is overwrought and the film would be more entertaining if the characters did not feel so off.

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Isaac was my main draw here and as impressed as I may be with how he continues to take on new personas for his various roles, Jack is just too much of an irritating personality. That leaves co-star Hedlund to pick up the slack and while the guy is better suited to films like this, opposed to random big budget starring roles, I was also annoyed by who he was playing. The film is too serious for me to find any kind of enjoyable aspect of how it wants to be self-deprecating and somewhat satirical.

There are some aspects that work. A key cameo from Mark Wahlberg feels like Monahan got one of his big Hollywood friends to show up and add some life to the film, but it is a welcome change of pace. There are also some neat visual touches that show me Monahan is capable of interesting directorial work. I just wish he could have applied a little more effort into what his script was really going for.

Mojave almost feels like an ambitious failure, but there’s not much that feels new. Two random characters find themselves at odds and get into lots of discussions. That’s basically the film on display and little of it is ever that interesting. It’s not terrible, but not terribly good either.



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Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: You have a good-looking film here, which comes courtesy of cinematographer Don Davis (The Matrix Trilogy). While not the most stylistically interesting film, there is a enough in the way of detail when viewing the desert and urban locations.

Depth: Characters are presented within the frame with no issue concerning the dimensionality.

Black Levels: With plenty of scenes set indoors or at night, there is a good amount of effort put in to make sure the film we see features black levels that are deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color representation here is fine. It is a pretty drab movie, but scenes set in various locations look good enough when it comes to showcasing its color.

Flesh Tones: Facial textures do come out quite well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.



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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Sound presentation is far more above average. While there are a lot of dialogue scenes, the balance between those and the atmospheric nature about a man lost in the desert and in life plays well.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel gets enough to do with the occasional bit of gunfire and work on the score.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround presentation is fine. Center-focused for dialogue, but the other sources of audio come across quite well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard loud and clear, even Isaac and his strange accent.



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Not much here, including a lack of a commentary for Monahan to better explain himself.

Features Include:

  1. Deleted Scenes (HD, 16:40)
  2. A Doppelganger and the Desert: Making Mojave (HD, 8:55) – A pretty standard EPK.
  3. Trailers (HD)
  4. UltraViolet Copy of the Film


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Mojave is a sub-par thriller that should really only be of interest for the stars. The Blu-ray features a strong technical presentation, though the extras leave a lot to be desire. That pretty much describes this Blu-ray package as a whole.

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