Mona Lisa (Umbrella Ent) (1986)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 30-Oct-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 103:50
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Neil Jordan

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Bob Hoskins
Cathy Tyson
Michael Caine
Robbie Coltrane
Clarke Peters
Kate Hardie
ZoŽ Nathenson
Sammi Davis
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Kamen

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, and drinking
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Mona Lisa was Neil Jordan's breakthrough feature, co-written with David Leland. Part of the reason for the film's success was the cast. Bob Hoskins is superb as the lead character George, an ex-con who has just recently been released from prison after serving 7 years in prison. After he tries to make contact with his family, (unsuccessfully as his ex-wife doesn't want anything to do with him) he reacquaints himself with old friend Thomas (Robbie Coltrane). George's boss, Dinny (played by Michael Caine) gives George a break by allowing him to drive a high-class call girl around, Simone (Cathy Tyson in her debut role). Throughout the film we learn more about George as he connects with Simone's plight and both characters do favours for each other with interesting consequences at the end of the film.

††††The film certainly does not leave you feeling that you've been led up the proverbial 'garden path' by the end of it, on the contrary, it resolves rather nicely. Bob Hoskins was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in this film. He won the acting prize at the Cannes Film Festival and it is deserved, he does carry this film. Mona Lisa has been re-released onto DVD in Region 4 by Australian DVD distributor, Umbrella Entertainment. It was previously released by Rainbow in 2002.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


††† The main feature is presented on a single-sided DVD5 disc. The disc is only 3.74 gb size. The average bitrate of the main feature is a lowly 4.9 m/b per sec.

††† The aspect ratio of Mona Lisa is 1:85:1. Unfortunately it is not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

††† Due to the main feature been presented onto a single layer of a DVD5 disc, there are compression issues evident in this transfer. The film shows telecine wobble in the credits, macro-blocking from time to time, film grain, low level noise during darker scenes and aliasing.

††† The colour scheme of the film is consistent with a movie made in the mid-1980's. Colours are not overly bright or dull.

††† For all the compression issues inherent with this transfer, surprisingly there a very few film artefacts present at all.

††† There are no subtitles and this is a shame as they are needed due to the heavy, cockney accents used by the main characters in the film.

††† There is not pause of a layer change as the main feature is presented on a single-layered DVD5 disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† The soundtrack by composer Michael Kamen is exemplary. There are plenty of instances of Nat King Cole songs played throughout the film, including the film's title song. There is also a fantastic sequence of scenes played over Genesis' In too deep which is memorable.

††† There is one audio track in English. It is encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps.

††† Dialogue is sometimes difficult to decipher due to the thick, cockney English accents. Audio is synchronised however.

††† The music soundtrack is wonderful as mentioned above.

††† There is no surround channel usage as the film's soundtrack is essentially mono.

††† The subwoofer is not utilised either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


††††There are no extras included with this release of Mona Lisa whatsoever.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† Mona Lisa has been released in Region 1 in the United States by Criterion. This version was not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions, but it did include an audio commentary by director Neil Jordan and lead actor Bob Hoskins. A theatrical trailer and short essay by Neil Jordan is also included on this release.

††††Two region-free versions of the film have been released in the United Kingdom. The first contained a 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions transfer, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the same audio commentary as the Region 1 release and an interview with Neil Jordan. The second version of the film released in the UK was not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions, neither did it contain any extras other than a skimpy eight-page booklet.

††††A Region 2 German release included a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the audio commentary with Jordan and Hoskins and a 24-minute making-of featurette.

††††The Anchor Bay region-free release, with a 16x9 enhanced transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and extras is a good choice for fans of the film, however the film transfer is not as good as the Region1 Criterion release. No matter, they are both much better options for viewing the film than the bare-bones Region 4 release of the film.


††† The Region 4 release of Mona Lisa onto DVD is a major disappointment. The video transfer has significant compression issues and there are no subtitles or extras included. Fans of the film are better off importing this from another Region.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Friday, December 04, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 019), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Not good enough... -