Monsters Review

Two American get stuck behind the Mexican border, and have to take an extended to get back to their home country. This would be simple enough, were it not for a large section of the US being under quarantine thanks to an alien invasion several years earlier. This is a love story by the way.

The strangest part of Monsters is that it works, both as an idea and as a completed film.  Director Gareth Edwards took a small crew and two actors to Mexico, with a basic plot and storyboard, and let them get on with it. He then took the resultant 100 hours of footage, cut it down to ninety, and then added in the aliens in his bedroom.

What has emerged is a film with a great atmosphere. This is a world that has moved on from the invasion, and Mexico has ended up somewhere between nonchalance and decay. Signs of destruction are everywhere, be it a crashed plane or a mural of an alien attack.  It might be slow-paced, but the movie draws you in, which considering the intrinsically silly premise is all you can ask.

Yet there is more to it than pretty special effects. Monsters might look like a film about immigration, but for me the main theme is the beauty and danger of nature.  Footage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Tsunami could easily be slotted into the destroyed American town Mexican “jungle”, and the parallel between the creatures from the sky and the ones at the bottom of our ocean are clearly made. Edwards makes us very aware of us a beings surrounded by and a part of nature, and as much as we try to control it, all we can do is look on in wonder.

There are a few duff lines, and the ending is a little underwhelming, if beautiful. Some of the more romantic moments border on cliché, and what actions scenes there are borrow heavily. But if you are looking for something really different, it’s worth a look.

8/10

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