This raw war film set in the cloud-caked mountains of an unnamed South American country is outshone by its impressive soundtrack.
In the cloud-caked mountains of an unnamed South American country, a group of adolescent soldiers perform their tasks, take care of a dairy cow and look after their American hostage. When the guerilla squad are forced to move into the jungle, discord ensues.
Ultimately a case of style over substance, Alejandro Landes’ Monos is a raw war film that ultimately doesn’t feel like the sum of its impressive parts. The reference points throughout are obvious – Apocalypse Now, Lord Of The Flies – and the textured filmmaking and engulfing atmospherics allow the film to get away with these obvious touchstones. The true spoils belong to cinematographer Jasper Wolf and composer Mica Levi, whose intense score hoists the menace and heightens the narrative’s increasing fever dream quality. It’s a masterpiece of a soundtrack, one that’s easier to recommend than the film itself.
Monos / Directed by Alejandro Landes (Columbia, Argentina, 2019), with Moises Arias, Julianne Nicholson. Starts July 02.