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Monkey Man Dev Patel Jordan Peele review 2024

Monkey Man Review: An Action-Packed Debut From Dev Patel

Monkey Man marks the impressive directorial debut of Dev Patel, who not only helms the film with confidence but also co-writes and stars in this gripping action thriller. Set against the rich tapestry of a rapidly changing India, the film intertwines themes of revenge, social justice, and personal redemption into a visually stunning and emotionally resonant narrative.

The film opens in a forest village in India, introducing us to the young Kid (Dev Patel) and his mother Neela, whose teachings about the Hindu deity Hanuman inspire Kid’s moral compass and provide a foundational mythos that enriches the story. When their village is decimated by the corrupt forces of Baba Shakti and Rana Singh, the resulting tragedy scars Kid both physically and psychologically, setting the stage for a tale of vengeance that spans years.

The Good:

Transitioning to the bustling city of Yatana, the narrative adeptly shifts gears, depicting Kid’s life as a monkey-masked fighter entangled in the city’s criminal underbelly. Patel delivers a nuanced performance, capturing the rage and pain of his character with a raw intensity that propels the story forward. His interactions with an eclectic supporting cast, including Sharlto Copley‘s Tiger, Pitobash‘s Alphonso, and Vipin Sharma‘s Alpha, enrich the narrative, offering moments of humor, camaraderie, and insight amidst the prevailing darkness.

One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its portrayal of the hijra community, led by Alpha. Their inclusion not only adds depth to the narrative but also shines a spotlight on a marginalized group rarely depicted in mainstream cinema. The training sequences and are beautifully choreographed. They strike a balance between realism and the stylized action reminiscent of comic book heroics.

The film’s cinematography is another standout aspect. Vibrant colors and dynamic camera work captures the energy of Yatana. The grime of the underground boxing club to the neon-lit decadence of Kings is excellent. The action sequences are well-executed, with Patel convincingly portraying a formidable action hero. The monkey mask symbolizes Kid’s alter ego and his connection to Hanuman, adding depth to his quest for vengeance.

The Bad:

Sadly though, at times, the pacing feels uneven. Particularly in the buildup to the final confrontation, where the narrative could have benefited from tighter editing. The film ambitiously tackles social issues, but sometimes the exploration feels superficial. The climactic battle is a visually spectacular set piece, blending action, emotion, and symbolism into a satisfying resolution.


Monkey Man is a bold and ambitious film that marks Dev Patel’s successful foray into directing. Despite some flaws, the film’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses. Patel has crafted a memorable action thriller that resonates emotionally and leaves a lasting impact. Monkey Man is a testament to the power of cinema to entertain, provoke thought, and inspire change. It’s a noteworthy addition to the genre and a promising start to Patel’s directorial career.

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  • Acting - 8/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 7/10
  • Rewatchability - 5/10
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