The Untamed

La región salvaje

Amat EscalanteMexico / Denmark / France / Germany / Norway / Switzerland100 minutes2016RColourSpanish

Cannes prize-winning director Amat Escalante (Heli) combines family drama and social commentary with science fiction and horror in this hypnotic and utterly enthralling tale, about an unhappily married couple whose life is turned upside down when they encounter a mysterious creature that is both a source of pleasure and a force of destruction.

Amat Escalante, winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes for his 2013 crime drama Heli, has followed up with something nobody could have expected. The Untamed is a story of sexual obsession with a lusty science-fiction twist.

Alejandra and Angel live with their young sons in Guanajuato, Mexico. Theirs is a tense relationship, with the overly macho Angel exerting physical and psychological control over his family as he attempts to hide the affair he's having with Fabián, Alejandra's brother. Their grim status quo undergoes a world of change when the couple meets a loner named Verónica. She takes them to a cabin in the woods and shows them her secret — something that is a source of pleasure as well as a force of destruction. Clearly, nothing will ever be the same again.

Hypnotic, perturbing, and utterly enthralling, The Untamed is a bold portrayal of a chauvinistic society characterized by homophobia and misogyny. Trapped in a violent and unsatisfying relationship, Alejandra is desperate to flee but too afraid. With Verónica's help, however, she taps into an inner strength she didn't know she had. Escalante overlays this family drama and social commentary with truly bizarre elements of science fiction and horror, expertly bending genres to create a wholly unique and mind-blowing piece.

Expertly shot and methodically paced, The Untamed explores the human psyche: the reptile brain, our primal desires, and our unfortunate predilection for selfdestruction. It also offers a liberating vision of female autonomy. Sensual, erotic, and uncompromisingly weird, The Untamed will be difficult to forget.

DIANA SANCHEZ

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