Saturday, 4 December 2010
Monsters, along with District 9 and Moon is another recent reminder of how rich a genre the Sci-Fi is. I expect there to be allegorical interpretations aplenty as District 9 provoked, but taken on its own as an imagined, wonderfully constructed world it is an engrossing, unique experience. As others have said, its one word, seemingly self-explanatory title doesn't convey what you would expect, and is a consciously ironic choice. By the end of the film, you'll wonder who the real monsters are' a question which is posed by the world Gareth Edwards has created. There is a definite, possibly polemic resonance in the division of the infected zone between America and Mexico, and the huge defensive wall built around the American border. The gulf between Mexico and America has widened even further in the film it seems, and although I won't go as far as to say it's a allegorical target, there are certain resonances present which are intelligently woven into the film. More and more these days Sci-Fi has shown itself as an incredibly malleable genre, shored from its more stereotypical moorings and willing to ask fundamental questions about the world.
On an aesthetic level, it is simply one of the most beautiful films one can ever see - the vistas of the infected zone and the creatures when we eventually see them is breathtaking. They are truly aesthetic monsters, the antithesis at the heart of the film. The central performances are correspondingly nuanced and heartbreaking; McNairy and Able share a wonderful, effortless complementarity that A list actors struggle to achieve. McNairy is steadily endearing as a mildly world weary photographer who realises his own alienation from the images he captures, and Able similarly has an easy charm and subtlety that produces an believable rapport with her co-star. It's essentially a Sci-Fi romance, as odd as it sounds and probably unattractive at first glance, but it's so well acted and plotted that it shouldn't be passed up on regard of lazy generalisations.
Monsters then is a marvellously made, nuanced Sci-Fi hybrid which deserves great appreciation and has introduced another brilliant talent to the scene.