Dir. Alejandro Landes, Columbia USA, 2019, 103 min
On a remote hillside, a rag-tag bunch of young people play football, blindfolded. Visited by ‘The Messenger’, it slowly becomes clear this isolated group are actually child soldiers – a guerrilla group, whose main job is to guard a prisoner – a kidnapped American. In a new task, brought to them by the Messenger, the group is now required to take care of a cow, which will supply them with milk.
When The Messenger eventually leaves, the dynamic of the group begins to appear – one of shifting factions and loyalties, dubious past-times and a feral aggression that could pull them asunder. With ‘The Lord Of The Flies’ as its template, the audience is plunged headfirst into an immersive world of war and adolescence. Brilliantly played by a youthful ensemble cast, it is alternately sensuous and scary, thrilling and appalling, with a dark heart of horror at its core.
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Landes' story of teenage guerrillas descending into anarchy is a hypnotic triumph The Guardian