The Reel Review

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A masked fighter working at an underground fight club in India infiltrates an elite crime syndicate to exact revenge on those responsible for enslaving the poor and defenseless and killing his mother when he was a child. Dev Patel stars in this intense crime thriller that he co-wrote and directed.

From Monkey Man

Patel’s directorial debut is an exceptionally raw, violent, gory and intricately choreographed thrill ride. There is almost a breathless amount of action in the fight sequences. A hypnotic score and vivid imagery helps set a haunting mood, as flashbacks reveal the horrors which traumatized the protagonist as a child and turned him into the vengeful killing machine as an adult.

Dev Patel in Monkey Man

What sets Monkey Man apart from other revenge films is that it has a great deal of passion, making the lead character’s vengeance particularly satisfying for viewers. The appearance of the transgender warriors in the third act is also a crowd pleaser. The story between the action sequences does drag a bit, but even so, Patel has proven himself as capable a director as he is an actor.

REEL FACTS

• Dev Patel suffered numerous injuries during the filming of Monkey Man, including a broken hand, two broken toes, a torn shoulder, and an eye infection.

Monkey Man won the Audience Award at the 2024 SXSW Festival.

• Originally Monkey Man was to be filmed in India, where the story takes place, but delays during the COVID pandemic resulted in it being filmed in Indonesia.

 

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