Monos 2019

Directed by Alejandro Landes Fresh

Like Lord of the Flies by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, this bold, bizarro Sundance sensation takes the feral power struggles of youth gone wild to the misty mountains and lush jungles of Colombia.

Sep 05

Event Cinemas

Argentina / Colombia / Germany / Sweden / The Netherlands / Uruguay In English and Spanish with English subtitles
103 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
R13
violence, offensive language & content that may disturb

Director

Producers

Alejandro Landes
,
Fernando Epstein
,
Santiago Zapata
,
Cristina Landes

Screenplay

Alejandro Landes
,
Alexis Dos Santos

Photography

Editors

Yorgos Mavropsaridis
,
Ted Guard
,
Santiago Otheguy

Production designer

Daniela Schneider

Costume designers

Johanna Buendía
,
Daniela Schneider

Music

Mica Levi

With

Julianne Nicholson (Doctora – Doctor)
,
Moises Arías (Patagrande – Big Foot)
,
Wilson Salazar (the messenger)
,
Sofía Buenaventura (Rambo)
,
Deiby Rueda (Pitufo – Smurf)
,
Laura Castrillón (Sueca – Swede)
,
Julián Giraldo (Lobo – Wolf)
,
Paul Cubides (Perro – Dog)
,
Sneider Castro (Bum Bum)
,
Karen Quintero (Leidi – Lady)

Festivals

Sundance
,
Berlin
,
New Directors/New Films
,
San Francisco 2019

Awards

Special Jury Award (World Cinema Dramatic)
,
Sundance Film Festival 2019

Elsewhere

The Guardian called MonosApocalypse Now on shrooms” – a fitting description even if there isn’t an actual scene in the movie depicting our young soldier protags being ambushed in the middle of a mushroom-induced, ball-tripping stupor. Such hypnotic detours are frequent in the hallucinatory new thriller from Colombian director Alejandro Landes, which owes a significant debt to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in its cutting portrayal of power warping young minds. (In interviews, Landes describes Monos as a loose adaptation of the classic novel.)

In this vision, our feral ensemble are not castaways but teenage troops, posted on a remote mountaintop to safeguard both an American POW (Julianne Nicholson) and a milk cow named Shakira. In classic war movie tradition, everyone has swaggering monikers like Rambo, Wolf and Boom Boom. But, initially, there’s not an awful lot for these restless youths to channel their bravado into. In the place of warfare are bizarre rituals, horny hook-ups and campfire raves – at least until a tragic accident triggers a sudden, steep descent into chaos.

Landes offers us very little context about the surrounding conflict and largely avoids an overarching drive of plot, instead peppering the narrative with unexpected relocations and role reversals. As a result, the film holds a clammy fever-dream quality, aided by DOP Jasper Wolf’s sensory visuals and composer Mica Levi’s superb score. This is one of the festival’s most thrilling discoveries – a tense, off-kilter deep dive into corrupted innocence that never quite goes where you think it will. — JF