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Review: Monsters and Men

By Jenny Needham

Monsters and Men is a timely drama centring around the aftermath of the murder of an unarmed black man by two police officers. Monsters and Men (dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green) is a very timely drama, focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement that has become so important in recent years. The film follows the lives of three black men in Brooklyn that are all affected by the shooting.

Firstly, we follow Manny (Anthony Ramos) who was there at the time of the shooting, recording it on his mobile. Manny has the difficult decision to make to whether he should share the video footage online and face threats from the racist police men or pretend it never happened. Dennis (John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman) himself is a cop and is having to fight within himself over keeping his family safe by not speaking up, or attempting to help other black people and risking this. Lastly, we follow Zyric (Kelvin Harrison Jr), who is confronted by first-hand police racism and seeks to make a difference in his neighbourhood.

Monsters and Men is an incredibly important film in today’s current climate, when watching the film, you get a sense that everyone involved in making it had passion and conviction to get the story across.

The performances were strong, with a standout performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr who gives us a restrained yet heart breaking portrayal of a young black man getting to grips with the racism he faces.

The biggest strength of Monsters and Men is that we see the fall out of the same event from the eyes of three different people, all three characters have very different backstories and deal with the situation differently. By doing this, what is achieved is a nuanced, compelling drama that leaves the viewer quite rightfully enraged that the narrative in this film is happening in our reality.

Jenny Needham is a first year Film Studies student at University of Sussex, gaining experience in film reviewing.