Much has been written about how the Prestige TV era often ditched the episodic format of old-to-date seasons, which are more like long movies with roughly hourly credit breaks. Creator Neil Cross (“Luther“) Had this clearly in mind when he expressed his attitude towards”The mosquito coast. “This riff unfolds more like a 7 hour movie than a traditional television season Paul Theroux Novel, memorable once adapted from 1986 Peter Weir (With Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and Phoenix River) is a tight, gripping story of a family on the run, which has more modern dramas like “breaking Bad“And especially”Ozark“As it does to its origins. As in these shows, “The Mosquito Coast” also revolves around a selfish patriarch whose hasty decisions lead his family into the networks of international drug cartels. Fans of the source may be reluctant to see how far this production is from it, but it’s an exciting television season that is potentially an even stronger one down the dusty road.
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The premiere, expertly managed by Rupert Wyatt (“Planet of the Apes: Prevolution”) Introduces the Cox family created by an inventor named Allie (Justin Theroux, Nephew of the author of the award-winning book). While the Ford version of Allie Cox was a man so disturbed by ’80s American consumption that he led his family into the heart of darkness, the 2021 version introduces viewers to a man who is in his own Country is already far from the grid. His wife Margot (Melissa George), Home schools her two children – Dina (Logan Polish) and Charlie (Gabriel Bateman), which are so protected that future episodes show they haven’t even heard of an Xbox or Millennium Falcon.
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The Coxes are so far out of civilization for a reason – Allie and Margot Cox are wanted by the US government. Why exactly they’re on the FBI’s radar is a secret for the season. But when it turns out that their cover has been inflated, Allie grabs his family and flees to Mexico. She learns how hard it is to get to Mexico when you are a wanted man. The Cox family encounter a deadly cartel along the way, including an unscrupulous murderer who is excelled by Ian Hart and tries to keep the G-men on their trail, played by, two steps ahead Kimberly Elise and James Le Gros.
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While the narrative differs significantly from the original, Theroux’s take on Allie Cox shares some common frameworks like Ford’s in capturing a man whose constant movement is driven by selfishness. He’s the type of guy who constantly calls what happens to his family an “adventure,” gently pedaling his control problems and blaming others. It’s a complex representation of the guy who tells himself he’s doing what needs to be done for his family, even as he puts them more and more at risk. There’s a great line in episode 3 that deals with another character, but also applies to Theroux’s riff on Allie: “You put a decent guy in a bad position, a decent guy will be a dangerous guy.” He’s a dreamer who can’t even see his own hypocrisy, but Theroux grounds him instead of resorting to naivety. Allie blows America’s greed but rarely thinks of anyone other than his family – in a great character beat, the foxes come across a sacred place where the locals haven’t touched the supplies left on corpses, and Allie doesn’t really think twice about it after taking what he needs. A character named Chuy (a really great twist on Scotty Tovar) confronts him with this truth when telling him that he is the perfect embodiment of America that he hates.
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Still, it is questionable whether this “mosquito coast” is missing out on some opportunity for broader criticism of America’s place in the world and the increasing tribalism in it. However, this could happen in future seasons. Surprisingly, it discards much of the religious commentary contained in the source material, and often plays more like a simple thriller than something with larger thematic aspirations. It’s more of a specific survival drama, but again this track feels a lot like a prologue, and some of the original themes could work their way into the upcoming seasons.
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With the momentum of these seven episodes, the character can be overwhelmed at times. Theroux finds the perfect low-key but dangerous register, but everyone else feels a little subscribed, especially George who has a great turning moment in episode four but mostly has to react to the intensity of what is happening around them rather than work out a character. There are also times, especially in episode five, when the kids feel a bit inconsistent, driven by the plot rather than completely believable. And the show sometimes has a habit of underscoring its themes through dialogue and circumstance, for example when the kids see some cage birds in episode 6 and Dina comments that they don’t know how to avoid predators when raised in captivity become. She’s talking about you, Charlie.
“The Mosquito Coast” is stronger in its unpredictable nature
Plot as its dialogue, and its dynamism is remarkable. It really never is
sags for its seven episodes, taking Allie and his family to unexpected places
on their journey south, viewers meet new characters like Chuy and Hart
Assassin in a way that keeps adding tension to the entire play. And
It’s beautifully twisted and directed. Yes, the washed-out dusty palette of Mexico
is a bit overplayed, but the tense moments – and there are many – are grippingly framed
and edited. Wyatt sets a visual tone in the first two episodes of that future
Directors and cameramen agree which adds to the feeling that this is a
7 hours of film.
Again it feels like fans of the work of Vince Gilligan, and “Ozark” will take it the most, although “The Mosquito Coast” in its first season is arguably stronger than the Netflix drama in its first appearance. If fans of the source material can get behind the complete narrative rework, they will find that the original Theroux, who also serves as executive producer here, still has something to say about the American ego that spawns a man who makes himself can tell over and over again that he is doing the right thing, even if the bodies pile up around him. [A-]
The Mosquito Coast premieres on Apple TV + on April 30th (with two episodes and a weekly premiere program).