Monsters and Men (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

Monsters and Men (2018)

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Movie Info

One night, in front of a bodega in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, Manny Ortega witnesses a white police officer wrongfully gun down a neighborhood street hustler, and Manny films the incident on his phone. Now he's faced with a dilemma: release the video and bring unwanted exposure to himself and his family, or keep the video private and be complicit in the injustice? With a deep sense of humanity and a deft directorial hand, Reinaldo Marcus Green smartly reformulates the traditional construction of "protagonist" to magnify the power of perspective. Green tells the story of how the footage affects the lives of three upstanding men in Bed-Stuy--a young father striving to support his new family, an African American cop dealing with the fallout of his colleague's mistake, and a star high school athlete who becomes politicized by the incident. Each man is very different, but they equally feel the urgency of the question they must all face: should I take moral action or remain safely on the sidelines? Green provokes viewers to ask themselves the same question.

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Critic Reviews for Monsters and Men

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (3)

It's best when relying on its performers, as these men provide the type of inner debate that Monsters and Men too easily simplifies with its script.

January 27, 2018 | Full Review…

There's an expert fluidity to the chain of events and their direct impact on three men of color just trying to live honest, productive lives.

January 21, 2018 | Full Review…

For the people Green most hopes to engage, he hasn't given them quite enough to work with.

January 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Reinaldo Marcus Green writes and directs the unraveling stories, never bringing any of the subplots to a fitting conclusion. Cinematographer Patrick Scola's camerawork is the film's greatest asset.

September 18, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

While some perspectives were more valuable than others, seeing the viewpoints of tragedy from people who are typically undervalued is a gift. And we shouldn't ignore it.

September 17, 2018 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Even with a sense of complexity, Monsters and Men still can't stop itself from dipping too far into hyperbolic moments made more powerful by artifice than they ultimately prove.

September 14, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Monsters and Men

There are far too many films that go unnoticed each year and fall by the wayside, being remembered as a little gem of the year that it was released. While Monsters and Men probably won't make any of my must-see lists, it's a shame that this particular movie probably won't find a large audience. It's stories like these that explore the issues we face on a day-to-day basis that never get seen. People ask for movies that they can sympathize with or relate to, but they hardly ever turn out to see them. It's sad to say, but most independent movies don't receive the box office return that they deserve. If you notice Monsters and Men playing in your city and are ready to sit down and witness something raw and true, then here's why I definitely recommend checking this one out. After resisting arrest, a young man is unarmed but gunned down by the officer anyway. Monsters and Men follows characters during the aftermath of this police shooting and how it affects the lives of others, regardless of whether or not they had been related. The core story revolves around the teenager who filmed the shooting and how it affects him on an emotional level, a police officer who is ridiculed for the way that he chooses to look at the event, and a young baseball prospect, who happens to have a policeman as a father. The way these stories sort of intertwine will either work for you or it won't, but I found this particular story to be incredibly engaging. Many viewers may be thrown off by the slow pace and long scenes of self-reflection, but I personally found these moments to non-verbally give depth to each of these characters. For instance, the opening sequence of the movie showcases an off-duty cop being pulled over, simply because the colour of his skin didn't sit well with the police officer who pulled him over. This sequence sets the overall message of the movie in motion and his police officer easily became my favourite portion of the film, delivering one of the best speeches I've heard all year. It's quite eye-opening and really makes you think twice about the way news and media manipulate stories on a daily basis. Where this film started to lose me, however, was in its final few moments. Once the first two acts conclude and every message the film wanted to give has been given, you can clearly see where the film will probably end its run, and it does nothing to deviate from that. The story is the strongest when it's following these characters, but it becomes a very simplistic film by the end. I found myself wondering why the filmmakers chose to end on such an easy note, but it also doesn't hurt the movie in any way either. I was frustrated, solely due to the fact that the performances were terrific and the story progressed so nicely, but it chose to play it safe (possibly to not offend or manipulate any of its viewers). In the end, Monsters and Men is an upcoming feature film that I don't believe is receiving anywhere near the marketing that it deserves, which is a real shame, due to the fact that it's quite a good film all around. From the quiet moments that build character, to the score that almost becomes its own character, to the continuous messages placed throughout the film, I was engaged from start to finish. There are surely some moments that play it too safe, but this is a very well-crafted story that deserves to be seen by many. I recommend checking it out if it's playing in your area, or even on demand eventually.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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