Bantucinema Movie Reviews: Monsters and Men (2018) *Minor Spoilers*
REVIEWED BY: BUCK RIVERS
Cinema Score: 8/10
Enjoyment Score: 6/10
Bantu Score: Reality Bites
Monsters and Men is a film that is realistic to a fault. It isn’t the film that you’ll be seeing multiple times, but it is definitely a must-talk-about. This is by far the most impartial film I have EVER seen. For that alone, it needs to be seen. However, its ending may leave you wanting a lot more.
In terms of cinema, Monsters and Men is extremely well put together. The story follows three separate individuals who all experience the same tragedy from different points of view. Each story is deeply engaging.
John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. all do a great job as the three leads. They are each relateable and complex in their own ways and no matter what choices their characters are making, you genuinely understand and want the best for them.
The direction and editing service the plot well, but there is nothing that stands out too heavily in terms of cinematography. This is necessary for a great story, but apart from a handful of effective shots, the film’s look is standard.
Monsters and Men is a hard one to talk about from the standpoint of enjoyment. It isn’t funny. It isn’t going to make you want to run out and get your crew to the movies. It is, however thought provoking and poignant. My mother and I couldn’t stop discussing the film’s nuances after viewing. It is one that you should go see if you are interested in the complexities of the Black Lives Matter movement, and like to see history play out once again in a digestible 2 hours.
This movie is great, but I wouldn’t say it is the “Blackest” movie out there. You should go see it because it will make you think. Bare in mind that one of the leads is a Black police officer who isn’t directly involved in the tragedy that kicks off the film, but spends a lot of time defending what he feels is his duty as a member of law enforcement.
Don’t get me wrong, the film takes NO sides. That’s what is so amazing about it. We hear his point of view but the film never seems to tell us what it wants us to feel. That is a mark of worthy storytelling, but I’ll admit, as a Black man, I kind of wanted to see this character change his ways.
Over all, Monsters and Men is a great film. It is one I recommend for sure, but it one that left me a bit underwhelmed in terms of “watching a movie”. It doesn’t tell you what the message is. It has no real message. It is showing you reality without a lens. That’s difficult to do, but the filmmakers pulled it off masterfully.