May 16, 2024 culture

Dev Patel’s directorial debut goes bananas

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Anatolii Mishustin in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Rating: filled star filled star filled star filled star empty star

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"Monkey Man" director and star Dev Patel.

Picture by: Walt Disney Television | Flickr

In the world where John Wick and its imitators dominate the action movie genre, Dev Patel picks up a camera, directs and stars to deliver a unique piece full of passion and flare.

Monkey Man does not reinvent the wheel or push the boundaries of the genre, but it wins your heart with its determination and sheer adrenaline-inducing rage.

The story is pretty simple. Our protagonist, Kid, played by Patel, is set on a path of revenge in India, against the upper class of society and the fascist police force who wronged him in the past.

Even though the plot felt a bit dragged out in parts of the first and second act, it is what Patel does as director throughout this story that is bold and unapologetic. Inspired by mythology about the Hindu monkey god Hanumān, the film is soaked with Patel’s passion to tell this story and deliver his vision.

 

Monkey Man encountered a hurricane of problems during its production, such as losing cameras, funding being pulled, and a lack of props needed to film sequences, all of which stimulated Patel to think creatively and to shoot on iPhones or a GoPro.

Even though it is clear which scenes were filmed with an iPhone or a GoPro – those parts work. They add to the general boldness and grittiness of the story, making all of the punches and fights feel even more impactful.

At the center of it all is the action. The bloody, exhilarating, and stylistically profound action, in which all of the canons of the genre are utilized, yet you never know what will be used as a weapon next.

I was amazed by the creativity and pure rage that Patel had put behind the action sequences and their choreography.

The film delivers something in its core that many films in recent years have lacked, its determination and passion.

The sheer fact of its existence on account of the development hell it went through is astonishing. Monkey Man might not push the boundaries of the genre, but it has everything to become an action cult classic.

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Anatolii Mishustin

Film critic

Kyiv, Ukraine | Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hailing from Ukraine, Anatolii was born in 2006 and now resides in Amsterdam while getting his diploma. Moving to the Netherlands was a decision first and foremost motivated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Anatolii keeps his hand on the pulse of modern media and underground culture, that’s what grows his interests and ambitions each day. He joined Harbingers’ Magazine in 2023 to challenge himself in this area to explore cultural journalism, and quickly established himself as the lead film critic for the magazine.

His work also secured him an invitation to the first edition of the Harbinger Fellow programme with the Oxford School for the Future of Journalism.

In his free time, he enjoys basketball, watching films, and playing video games.

Anatolii speaks Ukrainian, Russian, English, and is learning Dutch.

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Christian Yeung

Society editor

Hong Kong | United States

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