Let’s dive into Reinaldo Marcus Green’s outstanding film Monsters and Men, shall we?
Green’s film depicts the aftermath of a police killing of Darius Larson, an unarmed black man and subsequent events, told through the eyes of three different people. The first is Manny (Anthony Ramos), a young adult trying to start his professional life, who witnesses and records the entire event. The police find out that Manny recorded the event and fights an interna battle of whether to publish the video or not. He does so even after The second is an black police officer (John David Washington) who experiences troubles of his own after we see him being pulled over for no reason by a fellow cop who doesn’t realize who he is or the fact he’s doing nothing wrong. Lastly, we hear from Zyric (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), a high school baseball phenom with professional aspirations – but is torn between joining in on the activism in his community in protest of Larson’s killing or keeping his head down and focusing on baseball.
There are often several films that are overlooked for a variety of reasons. Monsters and Men has, unfortunately, been one of those films. I loved how Green took one centralized event – the killing of Darius Larson – and then took his three leads and let each show the audience how this event affects them. There is a raw beauty to this film that is beyond words. The three leads – Ramos, Washington, and Harrison -provide outstanding performances and make their roles totally believable. Monsters and Men is a breathtaking film that is poignant and precise in its storytelling. It deserves much more recognition than it has received so far.
I Give It An: A