Monos: Surrealist Guerrilla Warfare Turns Into Total Anarchy
“An unforgettable immersion in terror.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Monos Cert 15 1h 42min Eldon Building Screening Room 1.10 18 March
A friendly yet equally dysfunctional all-male Colombian militant group, named Monos, must engage in complete guerrilla warfare while guarding over their hostage, an American woman separated from her child. The group performs the same routine of commands dispatched on the radio: scouting, tracking, treading into uncharted (possibly, enemy) territory, and looking after a cow named Shakira. When the group isn’t performing their usual duties, they participate in bizarre self-made rituals and traditions where, for example, the young men would encourage one another to develop sexual relationships among themselves.
The group’s insatiable desire to fire their semi-automatics is their prime desire, however. This rage-fuelled thirst for exorcising regressions, and the freedom to do so, is what lights the fuse for the group’s eventual demise—one which involves total anarchy and madness. This heart-thumping chaotic energy is what drives the movie’s ever-forward and relentless journey to disaster. However, that isn’t to say that Monos doesn’t offer anything else. The narrative is exhilarating and suspenseful but it’s also reflective of its characters and their collective plight.
Breathtaking landscapes are largely responsible for that since the movie has little to no dialogue. It is the smaller moments—the silences, the quick glances, the brief shifts in posture—and who they are as a unit that greatly define the movie’s theme of how such subtle changes can pave the way to either bloodshed or peace.
Monos is an exquisite thriller and a deeply affecting drama that will linger long after the credits have rolled.