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Dir. Alejandro Landes | Colombia, Argentina, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Uruguay, USA | 105 mins | 18 | Drama/War (with subtitles)
Alejandro Landes delivers one of the most talked-about films of the year: a hallucinogenic, intoxicating thriller about child soldiers. In competition at London Film Festival this year. High in the mountains of South America, above the billowing clouds but with gunshots heard in the distance, a motley group of child and teenage soldiers train and wait for instruction. This might be some teen rave gone feral, but for the deadly seriousness underlined by the presence of an American hostage, the Doctora.
Monos has inspired feverish buzz wherever it has screened this year and comparisons to Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies are not off the mark in mapping out the film’s terrain. But this is also a wildly original vision from Landes and screenwriter Alexis dos Santos, referencing horrors on their own continent. The camera prowls over mud and organic decay, cutting swathes through the jungle, all to the strains of Mica Levi’s visceral score. Monos sparks with dark adrenal electricity and it’s completely, utterly thrilling (via Tricia Tuttle LFF)