Paparazzo Boy Meets Idealistic Girl in Alien Love Story, Monsters
A road-trip romance thick with sci-fi circumstance, Monsters imagines a bizarro-world present, in which a NASA probe has crashed, leaving part of Mexico infected with hostile, rapidly-breeding alien life. The monsterssomething like massive octopi that can walk on their tentacleshave been quarantined from the States by a massive border fence. American newspapers will pay high five figures for a shot of a creature up close, or graphic images of their victims. Enter Andrew (Scoot McNairy), a scowling opportunist with a camera whose plan to cash in on the aliens seasonal migration is foiled when hes forced to escort his bosss lost tourist daughter, Sam (Whitney Able), back to the U.S. border. Hes a mercenary paparazzo; shes an idealist critical of his fuzzy morals. Opposites attract. Borrowing the handheld lensing and easy pace of a low-budget character piece, director Gareth Edwards, a CGI artist by trade, has created a dystopian landscape thats so naturalistic, its uncanny. As a writer, hes a less successful realist, resorting to some pretty hoary contrivances to get and keep his boy and girl in the same space for the films duration, and the largely improvised post-mumble performances dont add much depth. The film peaks, dramatically and creatively, with an alien mating dance of astonishing verisimilitude. Its a cheap-shot plot device, but also visually spectacular.
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