Resisting the urge to spam the word ‘perfect’ 1,000 times, I sit at my computer to ‘review’ this mind-blowing film. Yet I must begin by sating that this film can’t be done justice by a review. It really, really can’t. It has to be viewed to fully get a measure of what it is like. It is also something of a Marmite movie -the reasons I think it is so good are the very same reasons as to why others loathe it.
Some claim it is a ‘mumblecore’ film, adopting improvised language identical to that of other indies. I think that this shows something different from the textbook language of other monster films. And it builds the human element so well, making it feel like you’ve lost two friends come the poignant, yet affecting, ending.
I must begin by explaining the title, ‘Monsters’. A lot of people have complained of it being deceptive and misleading. Yes, this is a monster film. In the sense that The Constant Gardener was about a gardener. Or that Fargo was set in Fargo. But it is far more focused on the two humans. It could easily be mistaken for a love story cum road movie. In fact, it is more these two genres than any other. It is only actually in the final scene where we see any form of emotion or actual involvement with the monsters, and even then it is to satisfy some kind of metaphor between the two characters. So, anyone expecting an out-and-out monster movie will be very dissatisfied. But any self-respecting film fan should enjoy this film anyway.
So, with that out of the way, it’s important to focus on what this film actually is. It’s similar to Donnie Darko, in a way, because that film had no genre, really, and neither does this. This works in the movie’s favour -you will have laughed, smiled, cried, cowered in fear, and rejoiced in the power of cinema to tell a story, all before the credits roll.
It builds an emotional attachment with the characters, and leaves you reeling once it’s over. If you do enjoy this film, then my advice is to go in and watch it again. It’s the only way you won’t feel withdrawal symptoms from the film actually ending. I might be taking it a bit far, but this is one of the few things I have read, seen, or listened to that have actually made me sad upon it ending. And for that, it automatically goes to the top of my all-time favourites list. It hit me personally, and in a similar way to Mark Kermode falling in love with the film ‘Jeremy’ (refer to his autobiography), I have fallen in love with this.
Despite the film probably not suffering from actually ditching the monsters altogether, the special effects are something to be marvelled at. It is reported that it cost under half a million dollars. Well, it shows that Michael Bay is possibly the biggest money-waster about, and that he could learn form first-timer Gareth Edwards. Every shot is perfect, every monster beautifully designed and conceived. It shows what can be done with a little bit of care, and some artistic flair. Even if Edwards claims that all of his shots just happened, none were planned, he still shows considerable talent, and makes you wonder what he will do in future.
There are some people who claim it milks the ‘cynic with a heart of gold’, and the ‘rich girl with plans of her own’, and that the characters feel false. I disagree. I think that these characters are all echoes of ourselves, which is why we sympathise so much with them, because they are like us. Everything they do is something we can look at and go ‘ooh, I know what you’re doing’. There is a strong case to be made that this is the most human sci-fi film ever made. And it might not be the only improvised, realistic, down to earth indie out there, but this beats the ones I’ve seen hands down.
It might not be for everyone, but if you allow yourself to be absorbed by it, then you will discover one of the most affecting films in recent years, with an ending that just makes you want to scream and the screen. And for all the nay-sayers who claim that the movie industry is in dire straits, make them watch this film, and you will step out of the cinema, saddened by the ending, but with restored faith in the power of cinema to put you through the grinder emotionally, and create situations you feel genuinely attached to. And for that, this film is undoubtedly one of my favourites.
- Interesting, complete and bizarre: The World’s End review - July 25, 2013
- Leaden footed escapism in Pacific Rim - July 25, 2013
- Behind The Candelabra offers an insight into a fascinating relationship - June 17, 2013