In the jungles of Colombia, a photojournalist captures the truth behind a group of missionaries who may not be what they seem.
Zoë Bell : Avery
Nacho Vigalondo : Guillermo
Tenoch Huerta : Alejo
Director : Josh C. Waller
“The spiral is death.”
I had no idea who Zoë Bell really was. Afterwards she appears to be a famous stunt woman who has repeatedly demonstrated her skills in Quentin Tarantino movies. It’s not the first time she acted in a movie. You can admire her in “Oblivion” and also in “The hateful Eight“. This time, however, she got the main part. Unfortunately her character is too one-dimensional to judge her on her acting talent. Substantively it’s of the same level as a role played by Gina Carano. After seeing some impressive fight scenes I knew she’s one hell of a stunt woman. Sadly enough these scenes were sometimes unrealistic, when you take her character into account.
Avery (Zoe Bell) is a well-respected war photographer who, after receiving an award, is promptly planted on an aircraft by her editor. The destination is Columbia where she can make a photo shoot of a paramilitary group, led by the charismatic revolutionary Guillermo (Nacho Vigalondo). They act like local pharmacists in the Colombian jungles. In reality, Guillermo is nothing more than a crazy psychopath who’s using this sacred mission as a cover up for his own criminal activities. When Avery makes some compromising photographs of a murderous Guillermo, he succeeds in convincing his crew that the foreign photographer is the culprit. And that’s the beginning of a hunt through the jungle with Avery as a prey.
Until the first encounter with one of Guillermo’s freedom fighters, this film seemed promising. After the obligatory introduction, you will see beautiful images of the vast jungle. A wonderful mix of images of a subtropical jungle and stylistic black and white photographs. Even the sometimes exaggerated speeches of Guillermo were acceptable up to a certain level. But when Avery becomes a Rambo-like guerrilla fighter, who can defend herself excellent on unknown territory, the film lost a lot of credibility. I am sure Zoë Bell can stand her ground as a stunt woman. But when the person Avery, who’s a grim war photographer, turns into a talented person who excels in close combat, knows how to use an automatic rifle and uses tactical combat strategies, that’s a bridge too far. In reality, she wouldn’t even survive her first clash with the lunatic Alejo (Tenoch Huerta).
I was hoping this would be a brooding, exciting thriller. But in the end I only got to see a typical survival film. It made me think of “Predator” sometimes, but now without an alien. Guillermo’s followers are being released one by one to hunt their victim. It’s just waiting for the ultimate clash (with a ridiculous outcome) to present itself. The only downside about this taking place in the jungle, is the fact that it’s mostly dark. This makes it sometimes really difficult to follow the action. The performances are proportionate to the level of the film itself. But I need to say there’s one thing that really got my attention. The soundtrack. The musical accompaniment is usually not something I pay attention to, but this time I was surprised by the ominous music full of unusual sounds. Ominous during critical moments and mysterious in between. For me, the creator of this soundtrack is the true star of this movie.