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by armond white

monsters is a love story between two shallow, annoying people, sam (whitney able) and andrew (scoot mcnairy), who resemble cameron diaz and ethan coen wannabes, the kind of hipsters you see at the independent film awards. they're stuck in mexico when an extraterrestrial invasion attacks earth. crisis brings out the couple's foolishness (her weak bladder, his irresponsible loss of passports) and draws them together.

director gareth edwards only has self-satisfaction in mind. he exploits the same sci-fi/horror movie trend as district 9 and the blair witch project, using the same inept form: handheld, imprecise imagery and inefficient, repetitious improvised dialog. during long, dull stretches (where tv news broadcasts of aliens killing 5,000 humans provides weak backstory), you might think back on truly amazing apocalyptic narratives: spielberg's ferry spectacle in war of the worlds; paul w.s. anderson's 3-d dynamism in resident evil: afterlife. and when these aliens, who resemble neon octopi, mate atop a texaco gas station and put sam and alex in the mood, you might also think on the sentimental slop of cloverfield.

yet, edwards' idea of fitting his homemade f/x into a monster/make-out movie is better than the film's trite political allegory: the "infected zone" of the alien attacks resembles the u.s./mexican border, which is visualized as a bunker-style fortress resembling china's great wall: sam gasps, "it's like the seventh wonder! the largest man-made structure i've ever seen!" this depiction of the immigration crisis is slightly less ridiculous than the already-forgotten machete. if monsters' poor craft, makeshift commentary and air of mystery and danger are about anything, it's really about contemporary film narrative and communication collapsing into self-satisfied, indie-movie nonsense.



directed by gareth edwards

runtime: 92 min.

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