William Monahan is responsible for writing one of the great crime films of the aughts, Martin Scorsese‘s rabid, riotous The Departed, and the film was powered as much by the director’s relentlessly inventive pacing and editing as it was Monahan’s expert reconsideration of Wai-Keung Lau and Alan Mak‘s Infernal Affairs. He’s an immensely talented writer, having also penned Body of Lies, Ridley Scott‘s last truly riveting film, and the entertaining Edge of Darkness adaptation, but he’s less interesting as a filmmaker, which was proven by his debut, London Boulevard. Though he works well with actors, getting strong performances out of Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell in London Boulevard, his visual rhythms are deeply familiar, and the imagery of Monahan’s film was both rote and glossy.
There’s a similar look to Mojave, Monahan’s follow-up to London Boulevard, the trailer for which you can find right below, though one can never tell what exactly the film itself will have in store until the film hits theaters. Well, actually, in this case, the film will be available to DirecTV users tomorrow, December 3rd, whereas the film won’t see the inside of a movie theater until January 6th. Nevertheless, there’s no mistaking the fact that the heavy lifting of Monahan’s latest, which sees a suicidal, rich-boy artist (Garrett Hedlund) facing off against a violent, psychotic loner (Oscar Isaac), whom the artist nearly kills during a roam through the desert, will be done by the actors and, to a lesser extent, Monahan’s script.
It’s a familiar thriller premise, kicked up with a bit of self-reflection in that Monahan’s characters clearly represent two sides of masculine struggle and behavior, to say nothing of the element of distressed artistry. One can only hope for now that Monahan’s visual schemata will edge a bit closer to the brash and personal this turn out as director. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long to find out of Mojave has more guts and ambition than its tepid predecessor.
Here’s the Mojave trailer, courtesy of ET: