Review of Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose: A Mysterious Mammal in a Historical Hoax Tale.


There is an unusual movie about a unique true story: the famous hoax of the “talking mongoose” that captured the attention of newspapers in the 1930s, similar to the crop circle phenomenon. The Irvings, a farming family on the Isle of Man, asserted that there was a mongoose named Gef living in their farmhouse that had the ability to speak – although no one besides the family ever witnessed the creature, only hearing its strange voice coming from the walls or under the floorboards. The most logical explanation was that the daughter of the family was a skilled ventriloquist.

However, the media found it entertaining to maintain a serious demeanor when considering the possibility of “Gef” being a real entity. There were numerous gullible and enthusiastic spiritualists who were intrigued by the concept. One such individual was Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian-born investigator of the paranormal, who traveled to Man and believed that Gef was not a deliberate deception, but rather a result of collective hysteria. In this film, Fodor is portrayed with dedication and sincerity by Simon Pegg, dressed in tailored clothing and sporting facial hair reminiscent of a young Sigmund Freud. Writer-director Adam Sigal adds a character to Fodor’s story: Anne, played by Minnie Driver.

This movie is quite peculiar, as it turns the bizarre “talking mongoose” case into…what exactly? It is not a comedic film; rather, it takes on a heavy and serious tone, with long and dull dialogue. It also is not a horror film, although there is a disturbing scene where Anne speaks to the ventriloquist daughter, portrayed by Jessica Balmer, who displays her uncanny talent for throwing her voice. Ultimately, the film seems to have been salvaged in the editing process, as it tediously contemplates life’s profound mysteries.