Directed and Written by: William Monahan
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Garrett Hedlund, Oscar Isaac, Walton Goggins and Dania Ramirez.
Synopsis: A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelganger, a homicidal drifter (IMDb).
Release date: TBA
Why it could succeed:
Richard Ayoade (Sumbarine) also has a film about doppelgangers coming out next month – Double with Jesse Eisenberg, which is listed as a comedy. Monahan’s film is a thriller, so it’s serious tone should make it more appealing during awards season. Monahan took home the Oscar in 2007 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Departed. He has also penned Kingdom of Heaven and Body of Lies, so he knows how to write action/adventure/thrillers. Last year, he told Collider he’s been working on the script for “about 10 years.” It seems this isn’t some half-assed attempt. He’s had a decade to properly create something, hopefully, worth watching. He’s also attracted Departed actor Wahlberg and Oscar Isaac. Isaac has proven he can play meaty, diverse roles: he played an ex-con in Drive (2011) and a pessimistic folk-singer in Inside Llewyn Davis last year. His performance in the Coen brothers’ film should have earned him an Oscar nom at this year’s Academy Award ceremony, so perhaps he’ll get recognized next year, if he continues on his amazing performance streak. Wahlberg has also proven he can handle mature roles: Boogie Nights, The Fighter, The Departed, etc., so a nomination will depend on whether or not Wahlberg shows us something we haven’t seen him do before. A cop, who moonlights as a porn star to pay for his boxing lessons, maybe?
Why it could not:
Monahan is still a rookie in the director’s chair. This is his second attempt at directing; his debut, London Boulevard (2010), was panned by critics receiving a 6.3 average rating on IMDb and 33 percent critics rating on rotten tomatoes. The film’s main star, Hedlund, is still somewhat under the radar, so this might or might not work to his advantage. If he pulls of a decent performance, he could get awards voters’ attention, but, if not, he’ll crawl back into semi-obscurity. We’ll see if this Teen Choice Award winner for Breakout Male Star has acting chops. If Mojave sounds like a hard sell, it’s because it is. Monahan hasn’t made it easy for distributors or audiences to pigeonhole, “Mojave is what it is what it is” is his suggested tagline, which might have sealed its fate.
Best Supporting Actor: Hedlund, Isaac
Best Original Screenplay: Monahan