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I love a good hunt film a good jungle adventure, visceral, edgy and primal, I love retributive justice in films, there is just something so satisfying about watching acts of revenge within a film, these are all things for me that make a good film, and the simpler the better.
Director Josh C. Waller's 'Camino' is an exciting journey chasing you into the heart of darkness.
As the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke don’t fix it."
Now this is no original idea, after all, every story has been told a million different ways and every story will be told again a million different ways, but at the heart of any good story is moral or some deeper philosophical undertone, which pushes the viewer to a level of psychological placement where you discover something primal about your own existence.
'Camino' uses a formula that will never get old, the chase, a lone protagonist being hunted down by an overpowering villain, as more modern films have tried to spice this genre up with twists or more detailed characters, sacrificing action for lazily written psychological profiles of characters that have no place even being near the film they are running around in, 'Camino' takes a simpler approach and it works, not only does it work, but it holds you in the moments of high anxiety, the action takes over and the film becomes a physical and mental battle for survival, with each character taking an ethical stance.
The formula may be an old one but 'Camino' uses the formula masterfully Josh C. Waller delivers, with what is essentially an exploitation movie, an excitingly honest, tense and thrilling film.
A female photojournalist captures a chilling photograph of the leader of a pseudo-missionary group deep in the Columbian jungle; the other members biased off of a lie of their leader then hunt her down.
Now this is no Oscar material however recently 'The Revenant' 2015 took away three Oscar wins with a very similar story, though very different.
'Camino' is an utterly gripping piece of filmmaking with an interesting setting and story; the action is edgy and close making the fights on screen intimate with the audience, the violence is brutal but not for the sake of it, the cinematography is beautiful with a subtle change in colour as the film progresses.
But the real highlight of this film was Zoe Bell, her performance of a war photojournalist being thrust into this spiraling nightmare was played to perfection, she was strong and powerful with undertones of doubt and torment from inner demons, Zoe Bell really pushed her acting abilities in this film more than any other, showing a range of physical and mental emotions that a lesser actor would have fallen flat on.
Zoe Bell is the driving force of this film and a lot of the films shortcomings are saved due to her performance.
The film does have some melodramatic moments, which writers for some reason believe audiences need, and some of the characters do take a backseat until they are required to step up, and some of the narrative beats are highly predictable, as well as being very ambiguous yet stereotypical with the political/social message of Columbian corruptness.
But this is an exploitation movie so just enjoy the ride and you will have a good time because looking for deeper meanings in a film that hides its agenda will be pointless
Overall this is an entertaining action thriller, with a lot more going on under the surface than one would expect from this type of film.
I give 'Camino' a solid 3 out of 5 stars, truly a fun film that will have you at the edge of your seat, regardless of the films predictability there will still be viewers who don’t see the twist ending coming, genuinely a great piece of retributive adventure escapism.