The Mosquito Coast

From Academic Kids

The Mosquito Coast is a 1986 film, directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. It was based on the novel The Mosquito Coast (ISBN 0140060898) by the U.S. writer Paul Theroux.

Plot

The plot revolves around a maverick inventor, who finds little support for his inventions in the United States. As a result of this, he moves to the Mosquito Coast in Honduras (Central America), dragging his family with him.

The move is a total disaster in that Allie Fox insists upon importing into the Honduras jungle all of the worst things of the civilization he has left. He deliberately chooses the area because he considers it uncorrupted, but by the end of the novel he has managed to pollute the river, blow up a large section of country side and deliberately cause the death of at least three men. By contrast, in the "real world" of America, Fox's inventions could potentially have helped his previous employer and the world - instead, out of arrogance, he chose to import them into another country and hence helped destroy it.

The actions of Allie are continually contrasted throughout the novel with those of his son Charlie, who despite not wanting to leave America in the first place, nonetheless manages to adapt to Honduras far better than his father does. This contrast between intentions and aim and eventual effects provides a scathing commentary on colonial practices and the continued assumption of the white man that he knew "better" than the black man whose land he overtook and destroyed. In its commentary on colonial practices, it could perhaps be compared with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Tagline: Allie Fox followed his dream to the Mosquito Coast. He planned a paradise. He created a Hell

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