— by Jeff Schultz 
The monster of the title is bureaucracy and how its roadblocks and dead ends can drive the well-meaning and grief-stricken to violence, if not madness. Watching this yet-to-be-released Mexican drama, I was immediately reminded of Denzel Washington’s hostage thriller, JOHN Q. Like that movie, MONSTER is about a spouse who takes hostages at a clinic when her medical insurance refuses to approve a potentially life-saving drug, in this case for her critically ill husband. Both films have roughly the same resolution, but only Denzel’s has a Hollywood ending. And Mexican director Rodrigo Plá steers clear of the other movie’s SWAT team gunplay and plot twists in favor of a more quietly devastating approach. The wife, played with haggard exhaustion by television actress Jana Raluy, is improvising from the get-go, without a plan, terrified that her husband may die amid the doctor and his staff’s “we-can’t-be-bothered” unconcern. Accompanying her beyond the point of no return is her initially sullen but then deeply empathetic teenage son, who sticks with her to the end with a physical gesture following an exquisite final line that could not be a better button.
Sent from my iPad

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