Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monsters


This movie is the definition of a "slow burn". This movie takes a lot of time to gain steam and show you where it is going. This is one of my favorite movies that I have seen in the last five years and while I may love it, this is a movie that will not appeal to everyone. The movie only has two primary characters played by relatively unknown actors and the budget for the movie came in at under $500,000. This is a movie that is very layered and needs to be seen on multiple occasions to get a true appreciation of it. This is not truly an alien invasion movie but it is instead a romantic drama set around an "alien invasion" of Mexico.

The movie follows an American photographer who is in Mexico to retrieve the daughter of his boss from a trip she was taking at the time the movie starts. This all happens during a time when there has been a so-called alien invasion of Northern Mexico, where a satellite crashed and brought back organisms that have now take over that portion of the country. The aliens in the movie resemble 100-foot tall squids that sound like whales. This movie also has a ton of tension, both romantic and suspenseful. The two characters go from having no connection to one another but over time they build an affection for each other but events in each of their lives keep them from fully acting on those feelings. Throughout the course of the movie there are also instances where the viewer gets a glimpse of the creatures in the movie but we never get a full view of them and that creates much of the mystery in the movie. There is also an implied effect that the creatures are having on the environment around them with alien spores beginning to grow on the plant life in the jungles of Mexico. This all leads to a fantastic sci-fi/love story that will one day be remembered as a cult classic.

This is a movie that has, as I said before, many different layers to it. There is the love story, the sci-fi story, and then the political/social commentary that is sprinkled throughout the narrative of the movie. The love story is not a common one because the two characters in the movie while married in real life play two characters that are not initially attracted to each other in any way. The photographer, Andrew, views his boss' daughter, Samantha, as being nothing other than a spoiled woman who is a burden on him. As the two progress through their trip back to America, they start to notice all of the great things that each has to offer and then by the end of the movie you get the sense that they could end up together. If you actually take the time to watch the movie you will know why this is not possible, but one can hope for a happy ending. There are also the themes of illegal immigration and the lengths countries will go to in order to keeps people and threats out. The sci-fi aspects, while limited, are really believable due to the fact that something like what happens in the movie is not out of the realm of possibility. I think believability is what really elevates this movie to being considered a great movie. The movie feels natural and nothing is really forced. The tension in the movie develops organically and the relationship between the two main characters is natural given the things that the see in each other and the events that they witness on their journey.

This is a classic movie in my honest opinion. This may not be a great movie in everyone's eyes but it is in mine. The acting is wonderful and the story is extremely compelling. This is one of the best movies you will see in any genre this year and has more heart and emotion flowing through it than 99% of larger Hollywood movies. Watch this movie and if you are disappointed at the end then it was just not for you, but for the people that appreciate the movie, you will be rewarded with a rich and deep movie. This movie deserves a rating of 9.5/10.