“Monsters and Men”: Black Witness and the Call to Action

Monsters and Men intentionally echoes current events from a video witness to a police shooting, to a black cop deciding to stand with his brothers in blue or to speak out on the rogue racist cop who demeans the uniform and the profession, to a promising college baseball pick who takes a knee to protest injustice. The blanks can be filled in with a black man with a smartphone, Eric Garner and Colin Kaepernick and Monsters and Men would still have the same emotional wallop. The film demonstrates that witness to police injustice requires action and not inaction if the racist cycle is to be broken.

The shooting is never fully seen but the eyes of the witnesses speak conviction and the need for justice.

Director Reinaldo Marcus Green focuses the plot on three stories that play out simultaneously but are only linked thematically. The performances are all nuanced and inwardly character driven. Three separate black men all take different paths to the same conclusion.

The result is a slightly soft focus movie with some on the nose moments, powerful performances, and a heavy emotional tug. Monsters and Men feels energized, needed and only slightly forced. It is a statement film that in these divisive times can never be overstated or repeated enough.

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