Doctor who killed Missy Grubaugh

Monster! Monster?

Content / criticism

"Monster! Monster? "// Start in Germany: May 7, 2021 (Netflix)

So far, Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are not guilty of anything. He is an exemplary student. He loves films, loves to run around with a camera and capture the world with it. The shock is all the greater when he is accused of raiding a shop with others and killing someone. For his parents (Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright) it is certain that he did not. And he himself always asserts that he is innocent. But the evidence weighs heavily. As much as his defense attorney Katherine O'Brien (Jennifer Ehle) also tried hard, she hardly comes up against the prosecutor who tries to portray Steve as a monster in court ...

A late reunion

That Netflix currently has problems to ensure a constant supply, most should have noticed. Not only that there are fewer large in-house productions. In the case of the licensed titles, it is also noticeable that they are often a bit older and were stolen from somewhere to fill in the gaps. Monster! Monster? about is well over three years old, celebrated at the beginning of 2018 Sundance Film Festival Premiere. Why the streaming service dug up the film right now is not really obvious. At the time, the reviews weren't more than solid, and the film doesn't have much mass potential anyway.

Possible that Netflix was hoping with Monster! Monster? To benefit a little from the current mood: Not only since the Black Lives Matter movement appeared numerous titles that deal with the systematic disadvantage of the dark-skinned population. This is often accompanied by racially motivated police violence. But the US legal system is also repeatedly guilty when it punishes the non-white population much more severely. We were allowed to or had to see examples of this from time to time, from the series When They See Us from the real prejudice of young people of color to the documentary film Time.

Between insight and art

In contrast to the two aforementioned titles is Monster! Monster? however not a true story, but based on the novel monster of Walter Dean Myers. In his award-winning book published in 1999, he described how a young man is charged with a crime and mixed up descriptions in the third person with those in the first person. Partly tried director Anthony Mandler Maintaining this mix by combining purely observational scenes with voice-overs. But what works in written form does not automatically work as a cinematic version. Rather, strength becomes weakness.

More precisely, the problem of Monster! Monster?that it remains too distant. Although the sought-after young actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Waves) as always proves his talent, the film gives him too little opportunity to play it off. Instead of concentrating on the purely human aspect, when a young person may end up in prison for more than twenty years, Mandler practices more artfully staging. You can tell from the result that the director previously shot a lot of music videos before turning to a feature film. It's too smooth, the rough element that makes you feel is pretty underdeveloped here.

Interesting topics on the surface

But there would have been more in terms of content. Exciting topics are repeatedly interwoven with the story, from the well-known racist legal system to a toxic image of masculinity to the question of how to deal with potential criminals. Is it appropriate to call such a monster a monster? And what does monster actually mean in this context? There are certainly approaches that are worth considering in Monster! Monster?. But the film stops too early and does not go into depth either intellectually or emotionally. In view of the strong and increasingly numerous competition that takes on such topics, this is not enough.


OT: "Monster"
Country: United States
Year: 2018
Director: Anthony Mandler
Script: Radha Blank, Cole Wiley, Janece Shaffer
Template: Walter Dean Myers
Music: Harvey Mason Jr.
Camera: David Devlin
Occupation:Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Nasir "Nas" Jones


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