- Director: Alejandro Landes
- Writer: Alejandro Landes; Alexis Dos Santos
- Producer: Fernando Epstein; Alejandro Landes; Cristina Landes; Santiago A. Zapata
Lord of the Flies with a bit of Johnny Mad Dog, snippets of Deliverance and a soupçon of Apocalypse Now...yip, a sensorial smörgåsbord of cinematic references...with a [vital] difference. This is Colombia's dilapidated state-of-affairs...thrown out, for all the world to see...made accessible through the power of film.
Alejandro Landes grinds his axe...into a searing and scathing edge. For this is not fiction, this is the reality that Colombians have been living with for decades. The exploitation, the brain-washing, the arming of children is a practice so heinous...yet, it [inexplicably, criminally, negligently] persists all over the world.
Monos is a difficult film to watch...as it should be. It's finely crafted with some remarkable performances. There is little in the way of sympathy for these kids, there are a few nuggets of vulnerability...but, bearing in mind that these are just [manipulated] kids, the sympathy should gush...Señor Landes presents it as it is...asking the question: What would you do if this happened to your own child? A tough one to imagine, this film will help.
Patagrande, Rambo, Leidi, Sueca, Pitufo, Lobo, Perro and Bum Bum. Eight stray teenagers, each bearing a code name, form a paramilitary squad on a remote hilltop. They are instinctively drawn towards hedonism and ferocity. A messenger delivers instructions from the Organisation: they are to look after a dairy cow called Shakira and an abducted woman from the USA known as Doctora. But their carefree time comes to an end when death pays them a visit and their position is compromised, forcing them to relocate deeper into the jungle.
Alejandro Landes and co-writer Alexis Dos Santos have created a disquieting take on the war film and survival thriller. Theirs is a work of scant explanations but of visceral emotions. Heightened by Jasper Wolf’s piercing cinematography, Mica Levi’s superbly tense score and uncannily sharp editing by Yorgos Mavropsaridis, Ted Guard and Santiago Otheguy, Landes’ exhilarating third feature impresses by zooming in on the shifting allegiances and power struggles of an adolescent, primal tribe.