MONKEY MAN

★★★★

DEV PATEL'S DIRECTORIAL DEBUT IS A KNOCKOUT

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
3rd April 2024

There are certain directorial debuts that feel special. The most landmark in recent years was perhaps Jordan Peele with 'Get Out'. He changed the game, and is now constantly proving himself as one of the strongest forces in the director's chair. Peele created the production company Monkey Paw, which has not only produced all of his films but is also the team behind Dev Patel's directorial debut 'Monkey Man'. Having that backing behind the film puts a huge level of anticipation on the film - add to that it's Patel's first time directing and writing while also starring in the film.

Monkey Man is the alter ego for Kid (Patel, 'Lion', 'The Green Knight'), an anonymous man. He fights in an underground ring where he is paid to bleed and lose. He is put in the path of wealthy businesswoman Queenie (Ashwini Kalsekar, 'Andhadhun', 'Johnny Gaddaar') and begins to work his way up at her club. Here he crosses paths with the men who killed his mother (Adithi Kalkunte, 'Hotel Mumbai', 'Special 26') when he was a child. This sets him out for revenge - and nothing will stop him from avenging his mother's death.

SWITCH: 'MONKEY MAN' TRAILER

'Monkey Man' is a bloody delight. From the jump, the action set pieces are breathtaking. There are two major sequences that are just non-stop, so perfectly crafted and choreographed, it's action heaven. Patel had more than proved himself as an actor, but as a director he is truly phenomenal. It's easy to compare this to the 'John Wick' franchise, but that's only scratching the surface of what 'Monkey Man' offers to the action filmography. I will be talking everyone's ear off about the action sequences in this film; they are truly next-level.

From the jump, the action set pieces are breathtaking. There are two major sequences that are just non-stop, so perfectly crafted and choreographed, it's action heaven.

The titular Monkey Man is not only Kid's fighting persona, with him donning a monkey mask to fight, but also to honour the deity Hanuman. The film was really creative with how it used the story of the deity, and as someone unfamiliar with Hinduism it was a great introduction. The way Indian culture is presented in the film felt so authentic and real, itself feeling like a character.

My only critique of the film is that some story beats feel slightly rushed or not fully developed. This doesn't weaken the film, and the acting and action are so phenomenal that this feels more like a first-time director/actor/writer issue than a bad story.

'Monkey Man' is truly going to go down as one of the best action movies of the 2020s. Patel as a director is a tour de force and absolutely delivers. He is yet another exciting creator, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

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