Friday, May 30, 2014

Monsters (2010)

Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer:    Gareth Edwards
Cast:       Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga

Set 6 years after a NASA space probe crashed into Mexico, carrying samples of life within solar system, parts of Mexico bordered with USA has been classes as infected zone teeming with extra-terrestrial creatures. The film follows the trip of a cynical journalist Kaulder (Sccot McNairy) who is escorting his boss's daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) across the border to apparent safety of United States of America which has created a huge wall to protect itself from the monsters.

Film is a road love story set in the backdrop of humans trying to adapt to the presence of these alien creatures. There is a class difference between the couple and Samantha is engaged and she appears not to be too happy with her choice. It sounds very Bollywoodish but it is handled in a subtle way. Unlike other films of this genre, the film doesn't show the first encounter with the aliens and people living in Mexico have adapted their life around it. They are much more annoyed with the United States for destroying their homes and forcing migration. Obvious comparison will be made with District 9 which also featured aliens being restricted to a zone and its metaphorical depiction of a modern day apartheid. Monsters is very different to it since the title itself is a deception as it concentrates largely on the relationship between the human protagonists which could have very well been set in a war zone in stead of this Aliens backdrop.

The film was produced within a budget of $500,000 and the shooting equipment cost just $15,000. It didn't have a finalized script and most of it was shot in an opportunistic way. Most of the actors were not professionals and they just persuaded the local people to do the acting parts. Much of the dialog was ad-libbed by the characters who were just given an outline of the situation. This gives a Herzogian touch to the film. Gareth Edwards went on to direct $160 million Godzilla which I saw last week. Good that I saw it first because if I had seen Monsters first I would have went with very different expectations and wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Since Monsters is driven largely by the relationship between the two characters, Edwards was looking for a real life couple to portray it to get a good chemistry. Scoot McNairy was dating Whitney Able back then and are now married.

Rating: 4.5/5