Remember back in 2000 when Julia Roberts brought us a heartwarming portrayal of an anti-corporate crusader named Erin Brockovich who successfully took on a massive energy company in the name of dozens of poisoned employees? Well what happens when it’s just one powerless individual up against a sprawling, impersonal, and unethical corporate entity? Could we expect an equally happy ending complete with a multimillion dollar payday for our embattled protagonist?
Judging from his latest feature Un monstruo de mil cabezas (A Monster With a Thousand Heads), Uruguayan-Mexican director Rodrigo Plá seems to think the answer is no. Based on a novel written by his wife and frequent collaborator Laura Santullo, Un monstruo brings us a tense character study of a woman pushed to the edge by an unjust world. The film doubles as a rapid-fire thriller about the shady corporate practices of large insurance companies. When their private insurance company won’t pay for her husband’s expensive cancer treatment, Sonia takes her son along on a quest for justice that quickly spirals out of control when a loaded pistol becomes her primary bargaining chip.
The film’s trailer showcases Plá’s impeccable visual sense, with a keen eye to the geometry of the modern interiors that characterize corporate headquarterss the world over, along with a dim, brooding atmosphere provided by the masterful lighting of cinematographer Odei Zabaleta. The score does its job of raising tension as Sonia’s crusade grows bloodier and her prospects for justice slimmer, only to leave us with a very appropriate tagline: “A wounded animal doesn’t cry, it bites.”
Now this gives a whole new meaning to “A woman who would stop at nothing…”