Loading Posts...

The Mosquito Coast Series Premiere Review: “Light Out” and “First of the Gang to Die”

Based on the 1981 best-seller by Paul Theroux (also a notable Harrison Ford film in ’86), The Mosquito Coast has now been tweaked and remodeled for television, starring Theroux’s own nephew, The Leftovers’ Justin Theroux. And while these first two episodes — “Light Out” and “First of the Gang to Die” — don’t exactly leave you at a revelatory leaping off point for the rest of the season, Theroux is quite excellent as the unsettlingly mad and uniquely motivated inventor, Allie Fox.Paul Theroux’s original tale of a bitter and disillusioned husband and father, irate at American greed and certain the world was going to erupt into a nuclear disaster during the Cold War, has been given new legs. In this updated version for Apple TV+, the Fox family now finds themselves on the run from the FBI for an unknown crime committed by one or both of the parents. Instead of the Fox foursome purposefully abandoning the U.S. for Central America, they’re now fleeing the States, just barely out-maneuvering the Feds. And after two episodes, all signals point to the family not even reaching the titular location (where most of the book’s story takes place) until the end of this first season.Because The Mosquito Coast is now an escape saga, the family has to be the draw here. Not just Theroux’s Allie, but the entire clan. If we’re to watch an adaptation this protracted, we pretty much have to doubly care about the characters. So far, much like in the original story, Allie’s choices as a father elicit instant sympathy for his two kids, who have no choice but to be passengers aboard his unhinged nature. The series, however, has even more to answer for when it comes to Allie and Margot as parents. They’re not just moving their kids to an uncharted rainforest, but they’ve already forced them both to live isolated lives off the grid because they’re wanted fugitives. Within the show’s backstory, there are way more instances of these teens — loyal Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) and rebel Dina (Logan Polish) — being subjected to neglect and psychological abuse.The biggest challenge for creator Neil Cross (Luthor) and company, is getting the viewer on Allie’s side, so that you don’t want his kids to be rescued by law enforcement. It’s only marginally successful in the first two episodes, though there is a moment when Allie asks, while he and wife Margot (Melissa George) are in the midst of a full-on burglary, “Wait, you think we’re not good parents?” And he’s asking it sincerely. Smartly, the moment is played for light comedy.This is where the performances come into play. Theroux perfectly plays Allie as a quiet storm. He’s never so manic that it drives us away. Instead, he’s smart and stubbornly resilient, firm in his belief that everything has a solution if you’re willing to look hard enough. There are moments in these introductory episodes that play like Breaking Bad if Walter White’s family had actually been along for the ride with him. Allie’s seemingly inexhaustible cunning and engineering know-how are played like superhero attributes.

Theroux, George, Bateman, and Polish are a strong quartet, capable of carrying us through parts of a story that can feel like a trudge at times. But it’s Allie and Dina’s combative relationship that really helps sell the show. It reaches a fever temperature at the end of the first episode in a way that suggests that their fates might one day flip. Dina is more like Allie than either of them realize and Charlie’s the one who stands to be disappointed and let down the hardest.

The biggest challenge for creator Neil Cross is getting the viewer on Allie’s side.


On the Fox’s tail are snotty, grumbly agents played by Kimberly Elise and James Le Gros, who inadvertently give the audience more reasons to root for our outcast family. If these government trackers had been given more warmth, it’d risk viewers believing they’d care about what happens to Charlie and Dina. Right now, as these first two episodes merely tee up the Fox’s future turmoil, Elise and Le Gros feel like they’re part of the cold, broken system of waste that Allie rails against.

The Mosquito Coast Season 1 Images

“Light Out,” directed by Rupert Wyatt (who also helms episode 2), sets the stage for Allie and his family as industrious, insufferable loners right before opening the show up to a wider mystery of “what was Allie’s crime?” What could he have done that A: won’t make us think he’s an absolute monster while B: still requiring a nationwide search for him? Also, the more both teens wonder what their father could have done, the more the show might be hiding Margot being the ultimate law-breaker. Coming from an affluent family she hasn’t seen in years, Allie seems to sit atop a larger reason she doesn’t use them for support. You know, something other than her love for/bond with Allie.

“First of the Gang to Die,” which Morrissey fans will recognize as a song title (a song that’s played in the episode, in fact), pulls us closer into the Fox’s trail of destruction, as they attempt to cross the border into Mexico. People are not only getting seriously injured, but they’re losing their lives in this family’s quest to evade the cops. And the more these tragedies happen, the more the series will struggle to keep us on their side. Not that we have to like them or agree with them to enjoy the show, but with each breaking point comes new fallout. And in that fallout, we’re all able to choose whether or not to reinvest in the story.

Source link

Avatar

GamingHybrid

The author didnt add any Information to his profile yet

Leave a Comment