Monsters: Dark Continent
Sins Of The Desert
Release Date: 27 February
15 | 123 minutes Director: Tom Green Cast: Joe Dempsie, Sofia Boutella, Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Nicholas Pinnock
emerged as a talent to watch back in 2010 with Monsters, a passion project that he wrote, directed, designed and shot, while also conjuring up impressive visual effects on his own computer. The result was a fascinating, character- driven stroll through a world forever changed, where giant alien creatures arrived on the back of a crashed Nasa probe and created “infected zones” where it’s dangerous for humans to tread, lest they see giant squid things having it off near petrol stations. Edwards has since moved onto bigger beastly things with Godzilla, so for Vertigo Films to make the most of the critical and commercial love for Monsters, someone new was needed.
Tom Green swaps the likes of Misfits for his first big- screen outing, and has delivered a film that takes the basic idea of Monsters, spins the clock ahead 10 years and drops military characters into a Middle East environment where the unchecked spread of the extra- terrestrials has amped up the tension between Western forces and the natives. The plot finds soldiers on a seemingly routine – but still very dangerous – patrol mission to try to win friends among the local human population and cut down the aliens, with any thought of peaceful overtures now abandoned. And, what do you know… things don’t go to plan.
Sadly, Dark Continent tries a lot of different ideas but doesn’t quite pull them off. The shuddering, Paul Greengrass- alike camerawork distracts more than it details, and every shot is loaded with some stylistic quirk. The actors, including Joe Dempsie and Johnny Harris, start out with plenty of character, but devolve into cyphers as the stakes are raised. Only Harris, with typically intense gravitas, makes much of an impression.
There’s an admirable attempt to broaden the canvas and explore themes of Western encroachment into Middle Eastern lands and the reaction of their peoples, but the points made are hardly revolutionary and the aliens end up largely as window dressing. A disappointing sequel. James White
The aliens end up largely as window dressing
Some hipsters’ beards get way out of control.