Composer Rollo Raphael unearths music from the world of film and video.
Director Alejandro Landes’ third feature Monos transports us to a remote mountain top occupied by a group of teenage soldiers. Loosely based around Lord Of The Flies, the story follows the guerrilla fighters as they struggle for power within the unit. Keeping hold of their captive prisoner and an unfortunate incident with a cow prove fatal for the groups dynamic as they flee deep into the jungle to avoid the repercussions from their military seniors. Sublime and stylish cinematography from Jasper Wolf gives a bewildering sense of scale and isolation to the young packs environment, while performances from predominantly first time actors give a genuine sense of wild-eyed youth.
Mica Levi (Micachu) known for her work on Under The Skin and Jackie provides an atmospheric score that remains minimal throughout. Mostly void of melody, she uses whistles from glass bottles to mirror the eerie call signals the young militants. The music feels environmental, like something that may live amongst the trees or in the mountain wind. Abstract and as much ‘sound art’ as it is composition, Levi delivers one of the most unique yet understated scores in modern cinema.
Monos is a far from predictable film, but the journey taken is the most thrilling element. Fans of William Friedkin’s The Sorcerer (1977) may well recognise the feeling of tension only found in a sweaty, savage jungle.
Available to watch on Netflix now.