Monkey Man Is A Film That Will Leave You On The Edge Of Your Seat

Dev Patel looking menacingly in Monkey Man.

An excellent directorial debut from Dev Patel, Monkey Man is a thrilling action spectacle!


In Monkey Man, an anonymous young man (Dev Patel) moves to the city and begins a one-man war targeting India’s criminal underworld. All the while, must find peace within himself following the death of his mother.


Dev Patel grasping an axe in Monkey Man.
Dev Patel in Monkey Man. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

With Monkey Man, actor Dev Patel makes his directorial debut. Taking inspiration from the Indian legend Hanuman, Patel, alongside screenwriters John Collee and Paul Anguacuela, craft a slow-burn action spectacle. One that is thrilling, exciting, and leaves you on the edge of your seat. Additionally, Patel and company also sprinkle in a helping of social commentary. Mostly regarding class, community, and religion.

All the while, Patel and cinematographer Sharone Meir construct several insane action sequences. Applying a documentary-like format to the cinematography, Meir makes the action super visceral and extreme. This is mixed well with the editing, courtesy of editors David Jansco, Joe Galdo, and Tim Murrell. The editing does result in a slow, burnish pace. This is mostly evident with the first ten to fifteen minutes as the film sets up the characters and the world they inhabit.

Speaking of the world, production designer Pawas Swatchaiyamet creates a vibrant India. Shown mainly through the costumes that both sets of characters – the haves and the have nots. But also, through the world they inhabit with the haves working and living in high-rise buildings. As for the have nots, they are mainly located in the streets. Which are dirty and full of grit. Swatchaiyamet also brings in an element of cyberpunk, complete with neon lights and bright billboards.

This is then all permeated by Jed Kurzel’s score. Kurzel echoes the film’s supposed cyberpunk themes by including a synthesizer-like noise throughout the score. He then mixes it with drums and bongoes. It allows for a much more suspenseful tide to emerge. Furthermore, Kurzel also manages to include loud horns. Which gives scenes like the flashback sequences, much weight and reason.


Sobhita Dhulipala walking in Monkey Man.
Sobhita Dhulipala in Monkey Man. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

As for the performances, Patel leads the film with a commanding performance as the mysterious “The Man, the Myth, and the Legend-like character Kid. He displays sharp emotion through his physicality, resulting in him not saying a lot. Instead, Patel shows emotion though his eyes and body movements.

However, when Patel does have dialogue, his chemistry with other characters shine though. Namely with Pitobash’s character Alphonso, who serves as comic relief. In addition, Sikander Khan and Makrand Deshpande make an entertaining pair of antagonists. Also, Shartlo Copley gives an entertaining performance as the announcer Tiger.

And while this is for the most part, Patel’s show, there are a few standouts. One of them being Sobhita Dhulipala, who plays Sita – a prostitute at the place Patel’s character works at. While her screen-time is limited, Dhuilpala and Patel do have nice chemistry. The second standout is Ashwini Kalsekar, who plays Queenie, who runs the restaurant/club that Patel works at. Similar to Dhulipala, while her screen-time is limited, Kalsekar delivers a menacing presence to the role.


Dev Patel in a monkey mask in Monkey Man.
Dev Patel in Monkey Man. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Overall, Monkey Man is an insane, thrilling action spectacle. One that serves as a directorial debut for Dev Patel. But, what makes this special is that Patel not only starred and directed in the film. But also, wrote it. Moreover, the action sequences are very visceral thanks to the documentary-like format cinematography. Which, mixed with the film’s slow, steady pace, makes for an entertaining ride from beginning to end. And a film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DarkSkyLady Reviews