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The Untamed (La región salvaje)
Directed by Amat Escalante
100 min | 2016 | Mexico/Denmark/France | Not Rated
Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.
Mexican director Amat Escalante, winner of the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival for his 2013 crime drama Heli, has followed that film with one that exceeds expectations and is truly one of a kind, a film that will stay with the viewer long after the credits roll.
The Untamed begins with a massive asteroid hanging in the cold vastness of space. Cut to a dark sweaty place where a young woman, Veronica (Simone Bucio), lies on a mattress on the floor, moaning with pleasure as a giant tentacle fucks her. The creature’s elderly caretakers determine that its sexual power is becoming dangerous for Veronica and implore her to find a new partner for it. During a trip to the hospital to treat a “vicious dog bite,” Veronica finds a possible match in the person of her attractive nurse, Fabian (Eden Villavicencio). “I think it’s going to like you,” Veronica tells Fabian. “Follow the river, and you can’t miss it.”
Escalante’s fourth feature is an examination of the strange and otherworldly set in the realm of mundane and realistic small-town life. The film examines the way sex is often out of joint with our desires and expectations, even our own identities. This sex-monster-from-space film is a special sort of weird, one that sci-fi fans won’t want to miss. A few scenes are just too outré to describe. The performances are excellent with each actor making a stunning emotional contribution.
The Untamed may even tempt you to see it again, that is, if you can handle its graphic surprises.
— Jeff Horne
Winner: Best Director–2016 Venice Film Festival; Nominated Best Film–2017 Sydney Film Festival