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Movie Review: 'Monkey Man' Starring Dev Patel

Monkey Man is a blood soaked fever dream of awesomeness.

By Sean PatrickPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Monkey Man (2024)

Directed by Dev Patel

Written by Dev Patel, Paul Angunawela

Starring Dev Patel, Pitobash, Sharlto Copley, Vipin Sharma

Release Date April 5th, 2024

Published April 7th, 2024

Monkey Man is bathed in cool. Dev Patel's directorial palette is blood red, it's sweat soaked and bruised. It's Dev Patel's first time behind the camera and he directs the confidence of someone who has done this all of his life. It's beyond impressive, it's epic. This guy just gets it, camera placement, pacing, his use of color and music. But he also gets the emotion of cinema. Weaving a story about a boy losing his mother through his blood-soaked and battered action flick. Monkey Man is a punk rock action flick with a Bollywood soul, and a genuine, big beating heart.

Monkey Man stars Dev Patel Kid, sometimes Bobby, and always Monkey Man. As a boy, Kid grew up in a lush, green forest. He spent days chasing his mother around the surrounding hills, falling asleep in her arms at night as she weaved epic tales of a Hanuman, the devoted warrior companion of Rama. In these incredible stories, the heroics of Hamuman resonate in the young Kid's mind, how Hanuman, the Monkey Man, led glorious victories on behalf of Rama. These stories are the foundation of Kid's moral core, one that will be tested and forged in fire, blood, and broken bones.

The story of Haniman is inspiring, but the story of the Kid, will not be inspiring. It begins with our Monkey Man in a fight pit giving up his blood and teeth for a few bucks. This underground fight club, overseen by Tiger (Sharlto Copley), affords Kid the chance to lose but earn a few extra bucks from helping to fix the fight in favor of Tiger's chosen champion. Those extra bucks aren't enough to lift Kid out of poverty. But this is poverty with purpose. Kid, is saving his pennies for the chance at vengeance. He's using what little money he earns to build toward his roaring rampage of revenge.

Kid's mother was murdered by the corrupt government that is only now fully asserting its power in India. Kid isn't into politics, he's into revenge and the man he wants is Police Chief Rana Singh (Sikandar Kher). It was Rana who was there as Kid's village burned and Kid's mother died. Kid wants Rana to suffer and die but he needs to find a way to get close to him. The early portions of Monkey Man shows Kid executing a dangerous but effective plan to infiltrate the halls of power where Rana hides among thugs and sycophants, including Queenie (Ashwini Kalsekar), and under her, the easily led Alphonso (Pitobash). His arc is a minor one but an effective one as he goes from low level thug to genuine human being.

This is all foreplay for some fearsome fight scenes, peppered through the first two acts as an appetizer for a third act that starts with a classic, killer training montage and ends with the aforementioned roaring, rampage of revenge, a bone-crushing, bloody, and brutal series of scenes captured brilliantly with dynamic camerawork, whip-crack editing, and a performance by the director himself, Dev Patel, that is star-making. Dev Patel has been a working actor for over two decades, but Monkey Man is a leading man, action star performance, the kind that earn the overused phrase 'star-making.'

Monkey Man is an exhilarating action spectacle. It's fast paced, darkly comic when it needs to be, and always entertaining. Patel reveals himself as a skillful director and a killer leading man. Not many can say they've had a coming out party on both sides of the camera but that's exactly what Dev Patel delivers in Monkey Man, a fully formed superstar in two different fields. It's exciting to watch and just think about. So, few get the chance to direct themselves and look this cool doing it, drink that in for a moment. how awesome is that.

Find my archive of more than 20 years and more than 2000 movie reviews at SeanattheMovies.blogspot.com. Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profile, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast. If you have enjoyed what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing on Vocal. If you would like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip. Thanks!

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About the Creator

Sean Patrick

Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for the I Hate Critics Movie Review Podcast I am a voting member of the Critics Choice Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.

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Comments (3)

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  • kp29 days ago

    i just watched this and was floored. the story is stunning, the visuals captivating, and the fight scenes remarkably choreographed. loved your review, and look forward to reading more!

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Man I was psyched for this already. Dev has always been an underappreciated actor in my opinion. I know he had Slumdog and cut his teeth in Skins, but I always genuinely believed his performance in whatever he played. So, when I saw the trailers for this ...I was like....damn. And I love that he's not really interested in playing James Bond (lots of people would love him to be) as he wants to carve his own legacy. Thanks for a great review that has me excited and relieved! :)

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    I really like your passion and dedications to your work amazing

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