MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON
Ana Lily Amirpour, USA, 2021, DCP, 106′
Mona Lisa Lee (Jeon Jong-seo), a mysterious young woman of Korean descent, escapes from a mental hospital with the help of her supernatural abilities. As she tries to navigate the outside world, she is taken under the wing of an exotic dancer (kick-ass Kate Hudson) who quickly makes use of Mona Lisa’s special powers. Ana Lily Amirpour’s newest film, set in the neon-soaked underbelly of New Orleans, is a bizarre and sweet fairytale for adults, flirting with B-movie aesthetics and filled with amusing twists and turns, including the slowest chase sequence in cinema to date.
“Like finding a grubby, balled-up bill in your spangly g-string and uncrumpling it to discover doughy old Ben Franklin staring benignly back at you, Ana Lily Amirpour‘s third feature is a sweet, scuzzy surprise made all the sweeter/scuzzier because you don’t know quite what you did to deserve it. Certainly, at the Venice Film Festival – where Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon snuck into competition – giggling into one’s mask at its garish but gladhearted genre excesses felt like getting away with something naughty. At one point, Craig Robinson‘s befuddled cop, trying to understand how he came to have a bullet in his knee after a mysterious encounter with the eponymous Mona, is told by a probably-charlatan New Orleans fortune teller: ‘You don’t pick voodoo, son. Voodoo pick you.’ And this time /…/ movie voodoo definitely picked Amirpour, who delivers a film born howling – and winking – under a big, red Louisiana full moon. Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is a blast.
– Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
“A sleazy and neon-soaked ride that splits the difference between a crafty caper and a guilty pleasure, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is the kind of cheeky flick you can’t help but surrender to. It possess your senses at every one of its madcap turns, and the same could be said about writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s previous two features. Both the stunning A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night in gleaming black and white and the vibrantly designed yet somewhat miscalculated The Bad Batch seize this gripping quality, as Amirpour whisks the audience away on a journey alongside a female survivor living on her own terms, with her own moral code.”
– Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com