Title: Flexing With Monty

Also known as:

Year: 1994

Genre: Drama / Comedy / Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 90 min

Director: John Albo

Writer: John Albo

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200641/

Monty, a man obsessed with exercise and being strong. Dreams of being the head physical education instructor at a university one day. He has raised his younger brother, Bertin, most of his life and will do anything for him. The two have made plans where Monty will support Bertin while he goes to school and when Bertin is finally done with school, will use his high IQ to get both out of their current slum. Things change though as a mystery woman comes into their lives and pits brother against brother that will not only bring this volatile situation to a bloody conclusion, but reveal secrets that will destroy both men.

Our Thoughts:
What the hell have I just watched? Seriously, I'm asking you because I don't know. Between the giggle fits and being mesmerized by the surreal-oddity adventure that "Flexing With Monty" is, I kept asking myself that exact question: "What the hell am I watching?" There is a plot synopsis available and the general idea of the movie about the relationship between the two brothers is there, but beyond that. There isn't any way to describe what "Flexing With Monty" actually is.

The main plot, if you could even call it that, is about the relationship between Monty and his younger brother Bertin. Monty is the brawn and Bertin is the brain and while Monty gave up his life to raise his younger brother, the two have an extreme love/hate relationship. That quite often boils down with two exchanging their extreme philosophical views; Monty believing exercising and obtaining the perfect physique is the only goal in life there should be. While Bertin thinks there is more to life and looks beyond the physical and into the metaphysical and even though he loves his old brother. He often resents him because Monty does nothing to give Bertin answers in regardes to his mysterious past of his dead parents, abusive grandmother, and a childhood spent in an orphanage. The volatile situation between the two brothers comes to a boil as a nun and a prostitute calling herself 'Lilith' changes the environment and causes the frustration between the two brothers come to a violent conclusion.

Even though that explination sounds more like the synopsis that you would find on the back of the DVD case, that is actually the best I could come up with. Because it is quite honestly hard to describe in coherent terms what "Flexing With Monty" is. Any other way would result in either spoiling the movie or just going through and talking about the different scenes and what occurs within them. Not because it is an overly complex movie or such, but the movie's focus is on the relationship between the two brothers and as a result makes it more or less a movie with talking heads. To me, that makes the movie sound shallow and "Flexing With Monty" is anything but.

While it does feature a large number of scenes of nothing but monologues it keeps things interesting by being a visually engaging movie with elaborate set designs, creative lighting, and unusual compositions. It isn't merely done by trying to be a style over substance movie as everything is done for a reason, sometimes to reflect the nature of the characters or the mood of scene. Like Monty's room is filled with steel, cement, weights, and features a wide variety of extremely bizarre exercise equipment. These things are clearly designed to represent Monty's cold and hard nature along with his desire to be hard (in more ways than one) and strong. At times it felt like such a simple movie, but when you really watch it and pay attention to the details you begin to see that there is quite a bit more going on.

"Flexing With Monty" is also very sneaky because it puts on this guise of being a dark movie that puts brother against brother in a world of body image and bizarre happenings, but...It is actually a funny movie. In an interview John Albo said, "Either people get it or they don't." And that is very true. This isn't a typical comedy, hell I'm not even sure if I would call it a dark-comedy since the humor doesn't come from a morbid nature. "Flexing With Monty" is one of those movies that is so truly strange, twisted, quirky, and down right weird that it is funny, and that's what it is going for. It sounds like an uppity and snobby thing to say, but if you don't understand the true nature and goals of the movie, then not only will you not get it but you won't like it. You'll probably find yourself bored, watching the clock, and thinking movie is nothing other than another excessively unusual movie but then wonder why the person next to you is laughing their heads off.

While I understood that "Flexing With Monty" was intentionally an offbeat comedy about the strange relationship between two people, whom seem to have the misfortunate of being bound by blood, even though there is love there. Still, I couldn't help but say, "What the fuck" both during and after the movie. While not the weirdest thing I've ever seen, it definitely ranks up pretty high as being one of the most unusual movies that wasn't avant-garde, experimental, or related to the arthouse genre in general. Incest, Bertin giving birth to his mother, sex with taxidermy, drugs, humans caged up like animals, women birthing eggs in a swamp, mutilation, possessed cocks...Good god, this movie really has it all and a bag of potato chips. Though it is something that should definitely been seen to be believed and also because it's actually a very good movie. It has a lot going on within it that I'm sure I'm not even giving it the proper credit and analyzation that the movie deserves.

Positive things:
- Amazing absurdist humor.
- A story that puts "Chinatown" to shame.
- Great art direction.
- Amazing set pieces and lighting.
- 10 shades of bat-shit crazy.
Negative things:
- Nothing really stood out as being a negative. If I had to say anything, maybe the amount of monologues.

Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 2/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 2/5
Comedy: 3/5

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