Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

I have always thought that mental powers in comics or the movies were the quickest way to becoming a villain. Being able to force others to do what you want is just too tempting.

However, there are those who seem more innocent than others and who are just trying to get some cheese puffs.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon focuses on a young Korean girl named Mona Lisa (Jeon Jung-seo), who we meet tied up in a straightjacket at a mental institution. It quickly becomes apparent that Mona Lisa could be dangerous as she was forcing an attendant to stab herself repeatedly in the leg.

Mona Lisa escaped from the institution and found herself in New Orleans. She met up with a drug dealer Fuzz (Ed Skrein) who bought her some cheese puffs and then she came across a stripper/dancer Bonnie Belle (Kate Hudson) who bought her a hamburger and gave her a place to stay.

Bonnie was not doing this out of the goodness of her heart though as she immediately convinced Mona Lisa to use her mysterious powers to get guys at the strip club to give a larger tip. Realizing Mona Lisa was an opportunity, she brought her to her home, introducing her to her son Charlie (Evan Whitten).

Mona Lisa was being pursued by police Officer Harold (Craig Robinson), who encountered Mona Lisa earlier in the evening and she forced him to shoot himself in the leg.

The film is interesting. It does not go into Mona Lisa’s background at all. We have no idea why she was in the mental institution or how she realized that she had these mind control abilities. These things were just simply part of who she was. Mona Lisa seemed very innocent, almost childlike in her persona so, despite the fact that she had some some very violent things with her powers, the audience was rooting for her.

The character of Mona Lisa reminded me of Kimiko, played by Karen Fukuhara from The Boys. Both are quiet, soft spoken (if not silent) but you do not want to mess with either of them.

Kate Hudson tried to take advantage of Mona Lisa and she succeeded for awhile, but Karma seemed to be coming for her. Hudson was another character that seemed to do some rotten things, but you understood because you could empathize with her struggles to make a better life for herself and her son. Bonnie made plenty of poor choices but her desperation was just below the surface of the character.

I’m not sure how I felt about the ending because almost the entire cast of characters was left with their futures uncertain. The last scene of the film, involving Snacky (Cory Roberts) was extremely satisfying though (no spoilers).

There were plenty of story beats that were left uninvestigated but the film was more interested in the interpersonal relationships of the characters and detailing the after effects of their poor choices. Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is stylish and bright, with some intriguingly damaged characters that left plenty of story unexplored.

3.5 stars

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