Friday, April 5, 2024

Monkey Man

Goddamn that was great.

In terms of action fare this year with so far the only competition being The Beekeeper, not only do I think this far outshines that movie but Monkey Man may be the best action film I'm going to see all year. Taking a typical revenge film and adding so much in terms of culture, cinematography, and even pathos the directorial debut of Dev Patel immerses you into this world and story almost immediately, showing the righteous fury of a young man seeking retribution for his mother's death at the hands of government and even spiritual leaders. Set at a solid 2 hours the film takes it's time in telling this story, in fact the trailer I saw only really shows the first act and has moments where it reigns back and gives breathing space even when the action is not audacious or break neck speed. The sheer basis of the fact that the movie is brimming with so many facets of India is what made me give this film a fair shake, the stark and wide berthing line between rich and poor, the clothes, the religious customs, the food, the music, the sad but unfortunately true continuing conflicts and tragedy that were not just confined to the partition. And for someone like me, I love this stuff! To even briefly experience a part of the world in all it's sights and sounds is a treat. It even brought up things I hadn't truly considered, there is a transgendered character named Alpha who aids our protagonist and shows how they are viewed in that country. In all seriousness I thought that character was handled beautifully, showing such an open helping hand with such care and warmth, I thought it was so lovely. Dev Patel both in front and behind the camera does not come up short, bringing a lot of passion and style, it's hard not to get invested. I can see people either loving or hating the style and editing of the action sequences for the same reasons, it's handheld and shakes a bit, the camera is doing barrel rolls and tricks, the editing could be considered disjointed and confusing, and even that the style obscures the substance. However! I saw an evolution of the editing where as the movie goes on the fighting scenes get cleaner, more focused, and frankly artsy at periods. The movie has shining moments of beauty even in the midst of fairly brutal fights. It's a visually striking film when it wants to be and I appreciate that immensely. It's far beyond what you would expect from a revenge film but it's highly entertaining in it's own right, and truthfully elevated my spirits because well that's the power of cinema. You can watch a movie and it completely changes your mood for gladness or sadness. All I'll say is, it is well worth your time and money to see regardless of in theaters or at home. A golden four stars, 9/10! Maybe even has potential for top 10 of the year, who knows. Until next time enjoy the weekend, have some fun, be safe and be well, I'll catch you later on.

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