Review: ‘Monster,’ a story of desperation, bureaucracy

Tom Long
The Detroit News

A scathing indictment of bureaucracy and corporate greed wrapped up in the guise of a frenzied thriller, “A Monster with a Thousand Heads” will be too close for comfort for some.

Those would include anyone whose fallen into the nightmare of wrangling with faceless insurance robo-responses, uncaring government employees or preoccupied bureaucrats in any situation. Which likely means, all of us.

Sonia (an intense Jana Raluy) has a husband who’s dying and in pain. She has proof of a treatment that may be able to cure him and, at the least, ease his agony. But she can’t seem to pin down the doctor at her insurance company in charge of authorizing that treatment.

So she takes her teenage son Dario (Sebastian Aguirre Boeda) along with her to the insurance provider’s office, where she has been assured she will have an opportunity to meet the doctor and give him the information she has. But after she’s waited hours, the doctor skips off for the weekend. She spies him and follows, Dario in hand.

She follows the doctor to his home and confronts him there. He’s dismissive and tells her to leave.

That’s when she pulls out a gun.

What follows is a roller coaster ride as Sonia charges from the abodes of one insurance exec to the next, trying to get approval for her husband’s medication and wreaking all sorts of havoc. It becomes clear that the doctors at the insurance company are given financial incentives for declining expensive treatments, among other dark practices.

Director Rodrigo Pia doesn’t waste time here: The film is only 74 minutes long and rushes forward as frantically as Sonia’s mind. And, as an interesting device, he weaves in testimony from Sonia’s eventual trial in voiceovers. Anyone who’s ever had to tangle with a bureaucratic nightmare will hope she’s found not guilty.

Tom Long is a longtime culture critic.

Twitter: @toomuchTomLong

‘A Monster with a Thousand Heads’


Not rated

Running time: 74 minutes