When I finished this film, I knew I would watch it again. It was really tender and touched my heart, which you wouldn't expect given the subject matter. That being Monsters.
In this film, the Monsters are aliens that landed on earth six years prior. They came, they destroyed and they're still here. They plant their eggs on the sides of trees and continue to populate. They live in the Infected Zone of Mexico and Costa Rica. Which is choice real estate if you ask me. Warm, tropical, lush.
The film begins there, in Mexico, with a photojournalist who is chasing Monster photos. There are plenty of dead Monster photos to be had. Monster carcasses are plentiful with their charred, black tentacles strung over really tall buildings. However, the photographer needs a live Monster photo. This brings in the most cash. He's not having much luck.
He is then presented with an opportunity. He is hired to escort a wealthy businessman's daughter out of the infected zone. He's not too keen on this. "I don't want to be a baby sitter.", he says. Eventually, being cash poor, he relents. This begins a pilgrimage back to the United States.
I loved Samantha, the blond, for so many reasons. First off, she's not a whiner! Not once did she complain or bemoan her circumstances. Secondly, she is very lovely to watch for two hours. Not at all hard to be around. She is not a hardened badass, flinging machetes left and right. Not that there is anything wrong with grabbing an M-16 and blowing away some Monsters. But in this film, it would have been completely uncalled for. Samantha is womanly, tender and beautiful. Like I said, I loved her.
I also loved how the two began to interact. At first, the photographer is a bit huffy when he offers his masculine touches of care. Like letting her go first when they board a train. Or stepping up to the ticket counter and buying tickets. Eventually he does this with a smile. Eventually he does this as an act of caring.
It shows she is valued. And she accepts the care nicely. Like a dance really. The man will lead and the woman responds. It's delicate, powerful and made my heart ache. What makes this even more powerful is the setting.
All this growing lovey between the two happens as they travel through the jungle, finding devastation and wearing gas masks to stay alive. The Monsters are ever present. Picking up cars and F-16 fighter jets, tossing them down mountain sides. Killing scores of humans like unseen ants.
My favorite scene is pictured above. They are walking through a destroyed village and Samantha pulls out a gas mask. The photographer gently touches her forearm and hands her his mask. He does this because his mask is full gas mask, complete with eye protection. Hers was only a half mask. They exchange masks silently. This scene made me weepy.
There is a whole other part to the scene that make me jump. Because before I forget, this movie scared the crap out of me. Really, it's not just the tender, its the scary too. That's why I loved this movie, hook line and sinker.