Monkey Man

Monkey Man, a high swinging champion

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Dev Patel is an incredible talent. He’s been acting since a young age, making his mark on the small screen with Skins and then with Danny Boyle’s impressive Slumdog Millionaire. Now into his second decade of acting, he’s decided to throw his hat in the ring regarding writing and directing his first feature. So, how does Monkey Man size up?

Monkey Man is a story about Kid (Patel) a man on a mission. He wants revenge for what happened to him as a child and nothing will stop him. He becomes the living embodiment of vengeance and he will stop at nothing to achieve it. Kid is an interesting character, full of rage and chaos, so much so that the mere sight of a picture that reminds him of his past can drive him into a frenzy.

At first, he believes this is all he needs. He’s planned, and the groundwork has been laid, but as a great man once said, “Make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw away the plan.” When this happens to Kid he has to adapt and grow and it is well structured when the micro of the plot grows into the macro, and Kid finds himself having to become more than he is. Kid must die, and something more primal must be born in his place.

Do that Kong shit

This is a story from Patel and you can many of his influences, from The Raid to John Wick to possible fables from his childhood. He’s imaginative and it shows not only in the storytelling of Monkey Man but also in the cinematography and direction. It’s chaotic, over the top and full of style. Patel’s understanding of martial arts then complements this. His background in Taekwondo is evident on screen and the film’s final act is visually spectacular.

The score is also kinetically themed, full of the kind of energy that wants to inspire you to defy. When it’s Kid facing down a dozen red shirts and that score kicks in, you know pain is going to follow.

The film is also surprisingly deep at its core, dealing with issues that will hit home with many around the world. This makes Monkey Man work on several levels, making it not just a simple revenge thriller. It surprised me but in a definitely welcome way.

I went into Monkey Man with expectations, and I was excited. What I got out of it was so much more. It’s a modern fairy tail with a slick and brutal style. Check it out when it hits cinemas this Friday.

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