Neon | Release Date: September 13, 2019
7.5
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 40 Ratings
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30
Mixed:
7
Negative:
3
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8
TVJerryOct 9, 2019
Don’t try to figure this film out. Just go for a unique cinematic encounter. It's set in the mountains and jungles of an unnamed country, where a group of young "soldiers" is charged with securing a kidnapped woman. Many of the details, likeDon’t try to figure this film out. Just go for a unique cinematic encounter. It's set in the mountains and jungles of an unnamed country, where a group of young "soldiers" is charged with securing a kidnapped woman. Many of the details, like the politics and their purpose aren't clear, but it doesn't matter. This film is all about distinctive visuals and inventive direction by Alejandro Landes. The cast is enthralling and their plight becomes more fraught as things begin to deteriorate. You can try to parse out the references to classic books and movies, but don't waste too much time on that. Just let it wash over you and enjoy one of the most unusual and compelling films this year. In Spanish with subtitles. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
netflicSep 23, 2019
It is a Colombian movie about a group of teenage guerrilla soldiers keeping a woman hostage who they call “Doctora”. They are boys and girls, children by age, but their toys are real guns and they use them every day. These young soldiersIt is a Colombian movie about a group of teenage guerrilla soldiers keeping a woman hostage who they call “Doctora”. They are boys and girls, children by age, but their toys are real guns and they use them every day. These young soldiers belong to a group very vaguely named “Organization”. It is so vague it could be in Colombia or any other country. They do speak Spanish though.

Nothing is known about their Organization’s plight or how these young soldiers were recruited.
The whole plot is quite punctured with many things left to imagine.

This is not a movie that I would recommend for everyone but I enjoyed it.
Especially outstanding were cinematography and casting. All performances were quite remarkable as well.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
delcymasaSep 19, 2019
W O W !!! Simply WOW!!! Because of the photography, music, scenarios, wild sound and wonderful actors, I found myself in a pleasant sensory overload!!!... Simply W O W
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
pablo_delReySep 14, 2019
This is a masterpiece this is real Colombian movie. I'm so happy 4 this. This deserves an Oscar nomination
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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2
GreatMartinOct 4, 2019
For the past 19 years I have been going to a movie matinee on Friday, missing only 2, because in the back of my mind, for some stupid, unexplained reason that I know is not true, I think the world will come to an end. I wish I had taken thatFor the past 19 years I have been going to a movie matinee on Friday, missing only 2, because in the back of my mind, for some stupid, unexplained reason that I know is not true, I think the world will come to an end. I wish I had taken that chance today.

I had a choice between "Joker" and "Monos". I am a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix and don't think I have ever missed a movie he has been in but I had heard about all the violence in "Joker" and I do not like seeing violence in movies no matter how phony I know it is but then I have never heard of "Monos". I looked up the synopsis of the latter and it seemed 'different' so I decided to go see that movie.

When I got to The Classic Gateway Theatre I sort of smiled and, at the same time felt good about, to see that there were 2 fully dressed and armed policemen stationed at/in the auditorium that "Joker" was playing! "Monos" here I come.

After 102 minutes watching a group of teenagers running amok, supposedly guarding an American hostage, I couldn't see how "Joker" could have been more violent, and "Monos" is one of those pictures that is so indecipherable I really want to ask you to go and see it and then tell me what it was/is about and what it is all suppose to mean? I came home and read a few critics reviews and I still ahve that question!

I won't even ask how and/or what that American is doing in the jungles of Columbia---I guess that is where they are because the movie was made there---but who are the kids and what are they doing there?

"Monos" is certainly a movie I don't recommend but wouldn't mind if you went to see it and emailed me what it was about!!
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0 of 5 users found this helpful05
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4
Brent_MarchantSep 28, 2019
Despite excellent cinematography and fine film editing, this would-be epic saga of a group of adolescent rebel commandos harboring an American hostage in the mountains and jungles of Latin America aspires to heights of profundity that itDespite excellent cinematography and fine film editing, this would-be epic saga of a group of adolescent rebel commandos harboring an American hostage in the mountains and jungles of Latin America aspires to heights of profundity that it never quite reaches. With an almost complete lack of back story, an episodic meandering narrative and unresolved plot lines at movie's end, this film seems to strive at making a statement it can never quite articulate. Yet another case of hype trying to outmuscle quality and failing miserably. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
Turibe78Sep 13, 2019
WOW!!! I have never been so shaken by a movie... in an amazing way! The story has a way of pulling you in and taking you a wild ride... with an amazing score by Mica Levi and surreal cinematography. The movie is still in my head since it doesWOW!!! I have never been so shaken by a movie... in an amazing way! The story has a way of pulling you in and taking you a wild ride... with an amazing score by Mica Levi and surreal cinematography. The movie is still in my head since it does not give you a happy ever after ending tied up in a little bow but leaves you questioning what will happen. And in real life that is the situation. Highly recommend it!! And if you can please watch it in the theater.... you need the big screen for the sound and image. Expand
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7
GinaKOct 9, 2019
A harrowing yet fascinating film about very young rural guerrillas in Colombia. It is easy to hate the adult who recruits them and to pity the woman whom they take captive and treat pitilessly, but understanding the young guerrillasA harrowing yet fascinating film about very young rural guerrillas in Colombia. It is easy to hate the adult who recruits them and to pity the woman whom they take captive and treat pitilessly, but understanding the young guerrillas themselves is another matter since we know nothing about their backgrounds and the film soon becomes a contemporary and even more brutal and naturalistic version of “Lord of the Flies.” The film has its merits but provides much less insight than the earlier film. Expand
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5
moviemitch96Oct 14, 2019
A very half-baked film if you ask me. On the surface, it's seemingly 'Lord of the Flies' meets 'Apocalypse Now', but regardless, this film felt like it was wandering around aimlessly all over the place. The editing, especially towards the endA very half-baked film if you ask me. On the surface, it's seemingly 'Lord of the Flies' meets 'Apocalypse Now', but regardless, this film felt like it was wandering around aimlessly all over the place. The editing, especially towards the end became very confusing and disjointed to me to the point where I had no idea what was going on. Films can be weird and random if it aims to serve the story (David Lynch seems to be the only one to have truly mastered this concept). Everyone else that tries it always seems to be setting themselves up for defeat. Case in point here with this film. Overall, it really was an intriguing first half, but the second half is really where the film lost sight of what it was aiming for or trying to communicate. Expand
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7
JLuis_001Dec 16, 2019
Monos is a film that's both raw, and abstract.
Incredibly well done and surprisingly well acted by the young cast.
An interesting look at those who are essentially nothing more than pawns of a game they don't even understand, but I liked it a
Monos is a film that's both raw, and abstract.
Incredibly well done and surprisingly well acted by the young cast.
An interesting look at those who are essentially nothing more than pawns of a game they don't even understand, but I liked it a lot that the focus is not on it but on this group of young people and the experience is as crude and strange as it is mesmerizing.
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7
amheretojudgeSep 17, 2019
It is a film that is not advised to see at night or day or alone, just stand on your toes.

Monos Alejandro Landes, the writer and the director of this adventure has a way too explosive nature to be coherent in his speech. And yet,
It is a film that is not advised to see at night or day or alone, just stand on your toes.

Monos

Alejandro Landes, the writer and the director of this adventure has a way too explosive nature to be coherent in his speech. And yet, everything is sound and clear by the end of the day. The images shown in the film might be the only balanced thing in his world. If it brags about the beauty, the spectacle that these humans are tested around, then there is also this pompous animosity on jolting down your eyes to the last meticulous dilemma one faces in nature. And it is harrowing frankly. The thriller isn't thrilling. It is scary. The sadistic approach barrs not just rationality and loyalty but morality and ethical reasons.

Reasons that helps not only us but the writer itself to structure its set pieces. For if there is no law or rules or any finite boundary, there will be no ecstasy at the end of the line. Yet, the group of characters that we are told about, does so. And not going against each other. It is not you standard slaughter house. But the lease that they keep breaking, from someone who is above them and above them and below them. And it is not just them doing this but someone robs them too.

And now you are thinking that it is fair in this situation. This phenomenon just broke its first law. And in order to whip you or more accurately corner you, the writer takes a detour just to checkmate you. And now you are back to your position. And this is something that happens in the latter stage of the film. After which you realize that Monos is a hostage film. Not captured by some mercenaries but an idea that has apparently taken hold of everyone like a disease, a parasite that is killing us.
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7
Bertaut1Nov 17, 2019
A bleak allegorical study of war as seen through the eyes of children

Written by Alejandro Landes and Alexis dos Santos, and directed by Landes, Monos (from the Greek "mónos", meaning "alone") is an uncategorisable film that moves from a
A bleak allegorical study of war as seen through the eyes of children

Written by Alejandro Landes and Alexis dos Santos, and directed by Landes, Monos (from the Greek "mónos", meaning "alone") is an uncategorisable film that moves from a mountain top which is literally above the cloud-line to a stifling jungle to the edge of a city in the midst of war. Visually stunning, the plot is a little lacking, and sometimes the allegorical basis is a tad imprecise, but this is hugely ambitious and audacious filmmaking.

In an unidentified country at an unidentified point in time, a war is raging between unidentified combatants for never-specified reasons. On a mountaintop, we're introduced to the MONOS unit, a small group of child soldiers, with two tasks - to look after a conscripted milk-cow and to guard an American prisoner, referred to as Doctora (Julianne Nicholson). A tight-knit group, morale is high, until an accident has a series of knock-on effects that ultimately sees them abandon their mountain base. Cut off from their chain of command, their discipline starts to break down and soon, they come into violent conflict with one another.

Although very loosely inspired by the Colombian Conflict, a low-intensity, multi-sided civil war that began in 1964 and is still going on today, one of the most important aspects of the film is the lack of political, historical, societal, and militaristic specificity – it could be an allegory for almost any conflict at any point in time. Rather than attempting to elicit pathos by evoking the horrors of a particular conflict, Landes treats the story as a universal allegory. In this sense, it has both a fairy-tale sensibility and a mythological underpinning, with the violence and brutality offset by a poetic tone that speaks to timelessness. On top of this, the film examines the chaos and absurdity of war through the lens of adolescence; although the members of MONOS can be violent, so too are they teenagers, a duality that informs the entire film. The opening scene, for example, depicts the group playing football, but wearing blindfolds, thus encapsulating both the seriousness with which they regard their training, but also acknowledging that play is still an important part of their lives. Indeed, the film could even be interpreted as an allegory for adolescence itself – a group of teenagers unsure who they are, experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sexuality, not entirely thrilled about being told what to do by adults, and convinced that they can do a better job of running things.

Monos's most salient aesthetic characteristic is its dream-like quality, walking a very fine line between the gritty realism of a war drama and the hallucinatory feel of a fever-dream (in this, it very much recalls Apocalypse Now). This sense of existing just slightly outside reality is aided in no small part by the discordant and dislocating score by Mica Levi, which is built around whistling and timpani percussion. Also important here is the photography by Jasper Wolf. On the mountain, Wolf often shoots scenes with the characters dwarfed in a small corner of the frame, filling almost the entire screen with vegetation and sky. Such compositions suggest life lived at the edge of the world, existing outside society, existing outside even time. However, once we relocate to the jungle, Wolf goes in the opposite direction, shooting in tight close-ups, frequently handheld, suggesting claustrophobia.

If I were to criticise anything, it would be the plot, which is very slight, even by allegory standards. Indeed, regarding that allegory, although I certainly admire Landes's steadfast resistance to specificity, sometimes he's almost too successful in rendering the non-specific and universal, leaving you wondering what exactly he is trying to allegorise (even the title can't be locked into a single meaning – apart from the Greek word for "alone" and the name of the unit itself, it's also the Spanish term for "monkey"). And although the theme of child soldiers is a weighty enough issue on its own, it's something with which Landes seems uninterested for its own sake. This can lead to a lack of emotion, which is almost certainly by design, but it makes it difficult to feel empathy for any of the characters, even Doctora.

Nevertheless, this is hugely ambitious cinema with a lot on its mind. Straddling the line between the surreal and the barbaric, realism and fantasy, the seriousness of the adult world and the innocence of childhood, it's a singularly unique viewing experience, as beautiful, lyrical, and abstract in some places as it is ugly, crude, and realistic in others. Both a dire prediction for where an increasingly divided world may be heading and a foundation myth, Monos speaks as much to our future as it does to the legends underpinning our present.
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1
Mauro_LanariJan 30, 2021
(Mauro Lanari)
Madness and violence in a subtropical forest: like Coppola or the first Herzog, with a spasmodic search for the dramatic scene at every single shot. Primordial brutality as in Refn with hallucinatory hints as in Lynch, applied
(Mauro Lanari)
Madness and violence in a subtropical forest: like Coppola or the first Herzog, with a spasmodic search for the dramatic scene at every single shot. Primordial brutality as in Refn with hallucinatory hints as in Lynch, applied to training Colombian kids as guerilleros. Overly explicit authorial quotes and references, which turn Landes' film into a derivative work. Garrone could have shot it with the "scugnizzi" (street urchins) of Scampia and its surroundings, and it has nothing to share with the cinema of my interest.
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9
Peter19Sep 16, 2019
excellent movie, is a reflection of the violence, adolescence and the drives of life itself in Colombia between war
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9
Sierra-117Nov 17, 2019
Alejandro Landes’s psychological thriller about the use of child soldiers in Columbian guerrilla warfare is an outstanding piece of cinema, delivering perhaps the most atmospheric and hypnotic experiences to ever grace the big screen. The useAlejandro Landes’s psychological thriller about the use of child soldiers in Columbian guerrilla warfare is an outstanding piece of cinema, delivering perhaps the most atmospheric and hypnotic experiences to ever grace the big screen. The use of complex characters, excellent camerawork and an incredible score from Mica Levi completely immerses you in this brutal yet beautiful world, where children are kidnapped from their families and raised as soldiers. An hour after leaving the cinema i’m still struggling to find words for how mesmerizing this experience was, drawing inspiration from classics like lord of the flies and apocalypse now. Every actor in this film was absolutely phenomenal, to the point that I almost forgot that I was watching the actors and not the real characters. I will say, the actual plot of the movie wasn’t really a strong focus, as it was more character driven, and although this really works and gives it a unique structure at times it can feel a tad slow, but for me this was only a minor issue. Other than that, I have no gripes. If you dislike foreign language films, or hate unpredictability in movies then I’d recommend you steer clear, but If you have even a remote interest in cinema I suggest you find a way to watch this quick. 9/10 Expand
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9
JamesDefoeAug 3, 2020
You can feel the weight of every event and the humanity in each character. From photography to music score and story progression, Monos is a cinematographic experience of high caliber. Absolutely mesmerizing.
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