Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
A group of militant rebels occupy a mountain top, filthy and young and happy to shoot guns in the air to release the tension brought on by boredom and cold. They are serving an unspecified organization that the country’s official military is seeking to stamp out, and they have with them an American engineer (a superb) whom they have already been holding hostage for a long time when this visually stunning movie begins. The interactions between the various “monos” (or monkeys) in this group are volatile but remain under general discipline, particularly when their superior comes in for his periodic visits; after an unfortunate incident involving a cow they were given to provide them with fresh milk, the group is moved, with Nicholson in tow, to a spot in the jungle where her attempts at escape coincide with a breakdown of order among her captors. A series of characters who all make their mark as individual personalities, both bewitching and terrifying, are placed against a vivid backdrop in this intense and exciting movie, one whose crisply photographed images add to the terror of a plot whose twists and turns can rarely be predicted. The vulnerability of the prisoner as she is plunged into an increasingly hostile physical environment is set against the hormonal madness of people whose development as adults is perverted by the violence, desperation and struggle that is accompanying their growth. A masterful film, not to be missed.