Fantastic Fest 2016 Movie Review: THE UNTAMED
Director: Amat Escalante.
Actors: Simone Bucio, Ruth Ramos, Jesus Meza and Eden Villavencio.
I love Mexico. It’s my home country and a beautiful place. However, most cinema that comes out of the home land has a tendency of being either a gang, drug movie, or immigrant story. So of course, a sci-fi movie about a mysterious alien and its effect on a small group of people sounded amazing and completely fresh. And it did not disappoint.
LA REGIÓN SALVAJE/THE UNTAMED is that old-school allegorical kind of sci-fi. The impetus is a mysterious creature that crash lands in the Mexican country side. We first meet Veronica (Bucio), a woman who comes to a hospital with an injury of mysterious origin. Her doctor is Fabian (Villavencio), who instantly befriends her.
Thanks to Fabian, Veronica comes into contact with his sister Alejandra (Ramos) and her husband Angel (Meza), whose marriage and life is falling apart due to a strained relationship and the constant nagging of their two little boys. To not make it sound like a telenovela but Angel also happens to be having an affair with Fabian, which may or may not be the reason their marriage is falling apart.
The movie then deals with all four of these characters as they come to grips with their relationships with each other and themselves and the way they can’t express their feelings properly.
While times are changing, there is a very repressive culture there. Homophobia is still rampant as is the thought of traditional gender roles, and of course, he whole catholic guilt which manifests itself in the movie as a form of sexual repression and the creature.
The creature of unknown origin requires human interaction, and after you are with the creature, the characters are changed in a fundamental way. They’re more calm, more confident, more assured and of course, that clashes with those around them. In a seemingly small town, the characters that come in contact with the creature are seen as outcasts.
THE UNTAMED is such a uniquely Mexican movie, but hopefully anyone that’s ever felt the need to repress themselves in one way, shape, or form, can relate to the movie’s message.