Monsters and Men
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The Hollywood Reporter
Monsters and Men is a robust ensemble piece in which every performer finds subtle shadings in characters fully embedded in a realistic milieu. It's a smart, urgently relevant movie that marks an impressive upgrade from his acclaimed short films for writer-director Green.
Monsters and Men is at the once depressing and hopeful. And for the life of me, I can’t believe Reinaldo Marcus Green had the guts to make this.
Though all three sections of the film have didactic bits when big ideas are plainly stated, the bulk of Monsters and Men renders huge issues with a fluid understatement. But that disarming pensiveness and interiority doesn’t forget the anger and sadness of the story—instead, it somehow heightens it, affording these characters a grounded texture that casts their struggles in a piercingly humane light.
The movie not only illustrates the power of modern activism; in its final moments, it becomes such an act itself.
San Francisco Chronicle
There’s much of value to be had along the way to a nicely handled ending. It would be a mistake to call it a surprise, but it’s something that few viewers are likely to expect.
With strong performances, smart directorial choices and an unexpected story structure, Monsters and Men transcends its run-of-the-mill Law & Order-like premise.
The Film Stage
The film doesn’t supply easy answers and also has its characters making some unsurprising choices in ways that let us know how much it will haunt them. Even with this sense of complexity, however, Monsters and Men still can’t stop itself from dipping too far into hyperbolic moments made more powerful by artifice than they ultimately prove.
Mixing “gritty” handheld camerawork with an almost zen-like kind of restraint, Green’s approach is frustratingly thin on the kind of specifics that make for rich drama, leaving audiences to fill in the gaps.
Despite its ambitions, Monsters and Men makes its weighty subject matter feels thin and slight.
Like many films tackling socially inflammatory material, Monsters and Men is constrained by its politics.
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