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“MONKEY MAN:” Dev Patel Re-Invents Action Filmmaking

By Santiago Brion | April 15, 2024

Photo Credit: OpenClipart

“Monkey Man” is the directorial debut of actor Dev Patel, who also produces and stars in the film. The movie follows a man who infiltrates high society on a retribution quest to enact revenge on the people who took everything from him as a child. He makes a living in an underground fight club where night after night he wears a monkey mask, earning some cash. The movie is derived from Hindu culture, specifically the legend of Hanuman. 

Dev Patel has been working on “Monkey Man” since 2019. It clearly shows the passion and dedication of Dev’s craft due to the film being spoken in two languages, English and Hindu. The film went through a tumultuous production during its four years of being made. Dev specifically went through the ringer. He broke his hand and toes, and got an eye infection from the bathroom fight scene. The production shut down due to the pandemic, Dev’s gaffer died of a heart attack, and one of the cameras fell and broke which led to improvised footage from iPhones. Nonetheless, the film turned out great on Dev’s part with a standing ovation at South by Southwest, an annual film festival in Austin, Texas.

The camera work might be a bit disorienting for some, but it adds to Dev’s creativity on being in control of the chaos that ensues in the movie. The action choreography in this movie is its strongest suit with Dev’s influences for “Monkey Man” being Bruce Lee, Korean Cinema like “I Saw the Devil,” and Bollywood movies. What’s also compelling is Dev’s physical journey of avenging his mother. After his failed attempt of murdering his mother’s killer, Kid barely escapes with his life and is trained in martial arts and becomes more agile. One stand-out sequence is when a group of trans femme Hindu ladies fight the elitist goons.

Overall, “Monkey Man” is an exciting director debut for Dev Patel and opens the door for actors to create their own action movies. With an interesting aesthetic, a banger needle of JID’s 151 Run, incredible performance from Dev, and a killer third act, “Monkey Man” is a great time.

“Monkey Man” is a 9/10. You can see the movie at Regal Crossgates and Regal Colonie Center.


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