Monos is a true visceral experience, dragging you into the wildling world of a Columbian/Bolivian-like dissident faction and ultimately dealing with the consequences of an unregulated, and virtually feral, group of young militant soldiers.
Directed by Alejandro Landes, his story is unlike many others, as we follow the revolutionaries who are not only being trained to fight for a wider cause but are also given important tasks to perform, two of which includes looking after a prisoner of war and a dairy cow, all for an unknown force call ‘The Organization’.
While this seems like a relatively easy task, there’s another issue when it comes to mentality and experience because our rebels are actually teenagers. So, they follow the rules and principles whilst their leader is there but once he’s gone, the camp turns towards chaos in scenes that consequentially play out like an extreme modern Lord of the Flies but with guns and possibly even less care for any outcome.
Whilst Monos begins its story on remote mountaintops, with stunning scenery above the cloud-line, it’s not long before events take a turn for the worse and after they accidentally kill their cow, they move into the jungle in order to try and regain some form of organisation but, once more, this isn’t something that’s ever really going to take hold. While the group do have an intricate bond, and numerous special rituals that tie them together, there’s always a power struggle between the leading boys and after their prisoner ‘Doctora’ (Julianne Nicholson) tries to escape, things continue their unravelling and death isn’t far away for some.
Without going into excessive spoilers, because Monos is about the experience and witnessing the outstanding setting, all I can really say it that it’s unquestionably intense, stupendously created and quite unforgettable, both visually and in content. Director Landes has fashioned an insular world that also holds all the echoes of the real world outside of it, with power-hungry men trying to take too much being an underlying truth. It’s as if the film-makers have discovered this tribe hidden behind society and thrown us into their world and for that, it’s remarkable. You can also see why it has been compared to the likes of Apocalypse Now, with the descend into war-related delirium.
Monos doesn’t follow your classic narrative and is all the more compelling for it. When you add a perfect, shrilling score from Mica Levi (who brings the same type of intensity that she did to Under the Skin), this is a raw and real conception with a unique cast of Moisés Aries, Sofia Buenaventura, Laura Castrillón, Deiby Rueda, Paul Cubides, Sneider Castro, Julián Giraldo and Karen Quintero, who are simply one of a kind.