Josh Reviews Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose
Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose stars Simon Pegg as the titular Nandor Fodor, a parapsychologist and author who investigated the paranormal. Nandor Fodor was a real person, and he really did investigate the stories of Gef (pronounced “Jeff”) the talking Mongoose on the Isle of Man in the 1930’s. In the film, Nador is alerted to the stories of Gef by a fellow scientist and author, Harry Price (Christopher Lloyd). So he sets off with his assistant Anne (Minnie Driver) to investigate.
The wonderful title and the involvement of Simon Pegg, Christopher Lloyd, and Minnie Driver made me immediately interested in this film. I really wanted to like it. The film is… fine. It’s a perfectly enjoyable romp of weirdness, and at a brisk 96 minutes it breezes by. But the film wasn’t as funny as I’d expected, nor did it prove to be as emotional or deep as I think it might have wanted to be. It sits in a strange middle ground. It’s pleasingly off-kilter, but in the end I didn’t feel I really got to know any of the characters outside of Nandor Fodor himself, nor did I quite understand why this story was being told.
The main cast give it their all. Simon Pegg is wonderfully silly and eccentric as this bizarre little man with this bizarre (to me at least) name. He puts on a strange accent. It’s a fun performance, open-hearted and endearing. I loved seeing Christopher Lloyd on-screen again, and he’s magnificent in several long conversational sequences with Simon Pegg’s Nandor Fodor. Mr. Lloyd is tasked with delivering a lot of exposition in the first half-hour of the film, but with his magnificent voice he turns it into pure pleasure to listen to. Then there is Minnie Driver, who is absolutely wonderful as Anne, Nandor’s sweet and sincere assistant. Ms. Driver brings so much internal life to this character, who I think might easily have read flat on the page. Ms. Driver is so good, that I was disappointed the film didn’t make better use of her. I wanted to see more of her character. I wanted to better understand why she so desperately wanted to believe that Gef was real. I wanted there to be some payoff to all the longing looks Ms. Driver threw towards Nandor Fodor.
I laughed hearing author Neil Gaiman’s voice as the mysterious talking mongoose Gef.
I don’t have too much else to say about this one. It’s a weird, fun little story. I’d wanted more, but if the premise and cast interests you, this might be worth a look.
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