Part of Robert Rodriguez’s “Rebel Without a Crew” TV docu series, Alejandro Montoya Marin was one of the five filmmakers chosen to make his first feature much in the way Rodriguez did with “El Mariachi.” With only seven thousand dollars, no crew, two weeks to film, “Monday” is a heavy task to complete and Alejandro Montoya Marin is up for the challenge. It’s hard to believe “Monday” has such a low budget, as it manages to build such a fun darkly comic crime thriller out of such limited resources.
Centering on slacker and pothead Jim, his Monday isn’t going very well as he’s fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend. To make things worse he’s kicked out of his house and is now looking for work. When he decides to follow his ex on her date, he’s taken hostage by two female assassins, both of whom are working for a female kingpin who is fighting for control with a local drug kingpin. The pair of assassins strong arm Jim, forcing him to assassinate the drug lord, or else they will murder his mom and ex-girlfriend. Left with no options, Jim must think on his feet and find a way out.
“Monday” is a fast paced but wonderfully composed thriller that manages to make great use out of the small budget. Alejandro Montoya Marin has to work on a small run time, but he manages to unfold an entertaining and action packed thriller that also injects some morbid laughs here and there. Jamie Jung carries the film with his empathetic portrayal of pot head and pop culture geek Jim, who is forced in to this extraordinary situation and has no clear sight of an escape. The performances by Anna Schatte, and Sofia Embid are also absolutely dynamic, as they play beautifully off of Jung as devious villains willing to do whatever it takes to get their job done.
Director Montoya Marin unfolds the narrative in real time, amping up the urgency, and successfully conceives two very intimidating and enigmatic killers that find unexpected trouble at every turn. Director Montoya Marin combines a lot of elements of neo-noir, crime capers, action thrillers, and dark comedy, as well as some great style that made “Monday” a breeze to sit through. Whether intentional or not, director Alejandro Montoya Marin conjures up a lot of the tones and rhythm of Tarantino, creating an elaborate albeit exciting tale that’s complimented by the strong score. “Monday” is a great thriller filled with fantastic talent, style, and a hilarious final scene. I can’t wait to see what Alejandro Montoya Marin brings movie fans down the road, as I think he has more gems like “Monday” up his sleeve.
Premieres on the El Rey Network and on VOD in February.