A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS
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The “monster” in Uruguayan-Mexican director Rodrito Pla’s crime drama is a bureaucratic medical insurance hydra that prevents the desperate Sonia Bonet (powerfully played by Jana Raluy) from obtaining proper medical care for her husband Guillermo, who has cancer.
Her insurance company refuses to pay for an expensive drug that could be effective in treating Guillermo’s tumor. Sonia’s husband is dying, but she will go to any lengths to save him.
If the Mexican medical system has aspects in common with North America’s notorious Big Pharma-driven health care structure and its conspiratorial insurance complex, the coincidence is built on a pattern of blind greed overriding concerns for the wellbeing of patients.
Sonia takes her punk rock-loving teenage son Dario (Sebastian Aguirre Boeda) with her to track down her husband’s doctor (Dr. Villalba — Hugo Albores), with whom she has discussed her husband’s situation in depth over the phone. Sonia doesn’t fall for the stalling tactics employed by the quack physician's secretary. Instead, Sonia intuits Villalba’s identity when he tries to sneak out of his office. A pistol in her purse comes in handy in convincing the doctor to see things her way.
Still, blood must be spilled.
It’s a nice start. Unfortunately, clocking in at just 74 minutes, “A Monster With a Thousand Heads” feels like a film missing its third act. The filmmaker cobbles together a four-angle courtroom surveillance composite shot to serve as a tableau to say that Sonia will pay for her crimes. It’s a shame that the filmmakers didn’t see fit to better flesh out what could have been a thought-provoking commentary on the corporate medical system in Mexico. The film has some good things going for it, but the version being released isn’t really a complete movie.
Not Rated. 74 mins.