Unknown alien creatures have infected a large chunk of Mexico, forcing people to adapt and survive or be killed. Sound like a familiar Sci-Fi horror flick? Not exactly. This film concentrates more on the developing relationship between two strangers, as they rely on each other to survive in a vastly changing world. Director Gareth Edwards comes up with a story that has a fresh enough feeling to hold our attention, and Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy deliver credible performances.
Edwards shoots the film in a realistic tone, although it isn’t quite documentary style. This realistic, tangible atmosphere captured on celluloid is executed by Edwards’ choices to shoot on location and almost exclusively use natural light. There is minimal cinematic flare, which works perfectly for this film, as the story of the creatures is set in a very real world.
Whitney Able, as Samantha, and Scooter McNairy, as Andrew, have solid chemistry playing off of each other. They naturally open up to each other and learn to care for one another, capturing and holding the interest of the audience. The quiet moments in the film, especially when they observe the wonders of their surroundings, are acted well and become their shining moments.
Monsters is a film that juggles many themes, but it mostly concentrates on the relationship between Samantha and Andrew. The political undertones of the border and being imprisoned by the border walls are done well, but the relationship is the standout. Samantha has a fiancé to get to, and Andrew has a child waiting for him, yet they are stuck together in front of the same problem that keeps them away from the status quo. At first, they fear being trapped in a patch of nothingness and the threat of the creatures; however, that tranquil emptiness of where they are starts to become comfortable.
For those that want a second serving of District 9, this film will thoroughly disappoint. Monsters plays out more like an art-house Sci-Fi film than anything else. It’s a mostly quiet film, and sparingly uses action scenes.
The acting by the two main characters is done well, but it could have been better, as some may not be swept by their relationship or might not even invest in their developing interest in each other. Some of the conversations they have with each other come off as a bit forced and unnatural. In addition, the creatures are not the central part of the story, and that may force people to hit the stop button.
Speaking of the creatures, the design of the creatures is nothing too spectacular. They basically look like really giant octopuses that glow pink, and some may find that they look laughable at best. The design team for the creature must have been lazy as hell. Giant octopuses? Seriously?
Lastly, the ending will divide people with a wall 500 feet high. Some will think the ending is clever and fitting, and others may find it too vague.
Children of Men
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