[Courtesy of Universal Pictures]

Movie Review: Monkey Man

07:00 April 09, 2024
By: David Vicari

Monkey Man (2024)

Monkey Man isn't one of those wacky monkey/chimpanzee/orangutan comedies, such as Bedtime for Bonzo (1951) or Going Ape! (1981), but rather a stark and bloody revenge thriller that is one hell of a ride.

[Courtesy of Universal Pictures]

Set in India, Dev Patel plays Kid, a young man who makes a meager living getting beaten to a pulp regularly—while wearing a gorilla mask—in an underground fight club. He soon gets a job as a waiter at a high-priced brothel, and it is at this point that we discover that Kid is on a mission to exact revenge on Rana Singh (Sikandar Kher), the man who killed his mother (Adithi Kalkunte) years ago.

The film serves as Patel's directorial debut, and he also co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Angunawela and John Collee. While this has a typical revenge plot, Patel seeps the story in the modern class struggles of India. He shows the harsh realities of the slums with people doing what they can to stay alive. Patel also incorporates Hindu mythology into his film, particularly the monkey-faced deity Hanuman.

This has been said many times before in other reviews of action movies, but the hand-held shaking camera work and faster than lightning editing in action scenes is tiring. That is exactly what is employed here, and it's understood that Patel is going for dizzying confusion that is reminiscent of an actual fight, but it's just too much. It strains the eyes, and sometimes makes it hard to tell what is happening. It would have helped to ease that down for a few seconds here and there.

With that said, Monkey Man is a good movie, and it does go much deeper than the usual revenge fare.

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