‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon’ Review: Ana Lily Amirpour’s Latest Is More Style Over Substance

‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon’ Review: Ana Lily Amirpour’s Latest Is More Style Over Substance
In some respects, “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” — Ana Lily Amirpour’s latest feature, premiering at this year’s Venice Film Festival — could be called a return to form, or at least a return to the tropes and visual tendencies the Iranian-American director showed in her promising 2014 debut, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” After Amirpour’s disastrous collaboration with Netflix in “The Bad Batch,” “Mona Lisa” feels like a movie that is of a kind with her initial preoccupations. That is to say: like her first, , undermining audience expectations of their vulnerability in possibly supernatural ways.

The film begins with Mona Lee (a formidable Jeon Jong-seo), a 22-year-old Korean-American who has, for most of her life, been locked in a secure psychiatric unit, borderline catatonic and straitjacketed: until she escapes. In the opening scene, Mona’s sneering, vaguely Republican-sounding nurse taunts her, only to discover that the
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