A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS (Mexico, 2016)


a monster with Greetings again from the darkness. Instances of the little guy fighting mightily against a bureaucratic monolith are featured often in cinema, so it’s helpful to have an auteur like director Rodrigo Pla serving up his vision … in this case, a story from writer Laura Santullo.

In just the few opening scenes we quickly gain an understanding that this is an emotional story, and not one determined to spell out all details through intricate dialogue. Instead the lighting and camera focus on Sonia (Jana Raluy) as she tries to comfort her husband as he moans in pain (her face relaying that feeling we’ve all had as a loved one suffers so).

Next we see a determined and desperate Sonia … with teenage son Dario (Sebastian Aguirre Boeda) in tow … escalating her battle against the doctors, insurance company and pharmaceutical company that have seemingly conspired to prevent her husband from receiving the treatment he needs. Sadly, we easily see ourselves sliding into Sonia’s shoes as she pursues the proper treatment for her husband – blackmail, kidnapping and assault laws be damned!

Her fight against a corrupt and rigged system never gets easier, even after she uncovers documented proof that doctors are incentivized for high rejection rates. In other words, profits are priority over healing and treatment. Though set in Mexico, this personal desperation has been experienced by citizens of most every country.

Mr. Pla’s expertise as a filmmaker is evident throughout. The use of a running courtroom narrative as a backdrop adds dimension to the otherwise minimal use of dialogue. Additionally, the camera work is stellar … especially in an early parking garage scene where we witness the first confrontation through the windshield of another car (assisted by that vehicle’s headlights). It’s yet another example of how emotional responses outweigh the verbal here, and why this story of fighting bureaucratic red tape goes beyond many others.

watch the trailer:

 

 

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