City of God meets Werner Herzog in Monos– a superb film from Brazilian director Alejandro Landes
One hell of a location find- the ethereal mystic mountains with a big structure that almost looks like Denis Villeneve’s Arrival’s spaceship in terms of set piece (this is natural though) in isolation—clouds and fog.
If Landes has an issue (and overall this is an outstanding film) – it’s balancing the two stories here- there is the film about the captors (the City of God, or Beats of No Nation– harsh and cruel children army/gang) and the hostage escape (the Julianne Nicholson story which is almost like a short film within the larger film). They’re both compelling—but the narrative focus shifts a little erratically that makes it feel like bad form
Love the statement on society, or nature of man/human—call back to Kubrick’s 2001 primate opening and the nature of destruction or the Lord of the Flies (we even get a slaughtered pig). Evolution, dog-eat-dog cruelty and nihilism
A slight statement on culture’s effect- the kids names are Smurf, and Rambo—there’s trivia about Spider Man and the cow is named Shakira
A strong performance from Moises Arias as the leader Bigfoot
A marvelous shot off a puddle showing the reflection of the crew
Almost exactly half-way through the film (great form) we go from the mountains to the jungle with equal (but different) horrors- really well done
A long duration shot from Landes where he’s just preoccupied with the beauty of the oxygen bubbles in the water. Ruminations of a fascinating auteur- I’m very excited to see what he does next which is telling
The film ends in the middle of a thought—no idea on the Nicholson thread. I can’t even call it open. It is odd- still wrestling with it.