Mojave (Blu-ray)

April 6, 2016 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I’ll confess that The Departed was my favorite film from 2006. I’m a huge Martin Scorsese fan, and enjoy mob related films. I mention this because Departed screenwriter, William Monahan wrote and directed Mojave. It’s a film that I never heard of prior to being asked to review it. When I read the premise in addition to learning Monahan was behind the project, I immediately got interested. While it doesn’t touch the level of greatness of The Departed, it still works somehow in its own strange way. It just draws you in for its relatively short 90 minute running time. It is indeed a strange film, but ultimately, a satisfying one. The screenplay lacks the sharp bite of Departed, but it’s also a much different film.

Garrett Hedlund stars as Tom. He’s a drifter who goes into the desert only to cross paths with his doppelganger, a man by the name of Jack (Oscar Isaac). Jack approaches Tom in the middle of the desert one night when Tom is just sitting by his fire, minding his own business. Jack begins spewing off a vast array of randomness, talking about Moby Dick and eventually Jesus, of all things. I won’t reveal what happens next, but it sets a cat and mouse chase into motion. Actually, one of the joys of the film is discovering the plot elements as it progresses. To reveal them would be to spoil half the fun. I enjoy films of this sort with minimal characters that we learn more of as the film goes on. I appreciate the desert setting as well. It expands over the course of the film, but retains a sharp focus throughout. There’s even a surprise cameo about halfway in. I won’t reveal it, but it caught me off guard.

Video: How’s it look?

The 2.40:1 AVC image has a few soft spots but by and large looks as we’d expect it to look. Obviously the title of the movie isn’t misleading, there are a number of scenes that take place in the desert. This gives the movie a very “burnt” or over saturated look to it which isn’t bad, but it’s hard to really get an accurate reading on flesh tones and the like. The film also has some stylized effects to it, dimly lit bars and so forth. It’s not a bad transfer by any means, it’s on par with most other day and date films, but I found a few of the scenes to be a bit distracting…if that’s the right word for it.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments here and there and while the rears chime in at just the right time, this is mostly a front heavy mix. Oscar Isaac’s voice is in full raspy mode here, but given the tone of the film I suppose both actors were told to lower their voice an octave or so.  Directional effects are used sparingly but with some good effect and I caught the LFE a few times as well. It’s a good, yet fairly standard, mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • A Doppleganger and the Desert: Making Mojave – Though I like the use of the word “doppleganger” in the title this is, unfortunately, your run of the mill EPK. We get a few behind the scenes shots, some interviews with Hedlund and Isaac and the like.
  • Deleted Scenes – A few minutes’ worth are included.

The Bottom Line

I wouldn’t say go out and purchase this film, but I do feel it’s at least worth renting. The film starts off fairly simple then expands as it progresses. The pacing is appropriate, and the plot intriguing. Performances from Hedlund and Isaac are also strong selling points here as well. Recommended.

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