The Garfield Movie (2024)
101 min|Animation, Adventure, Comedy|24 May 2024
5.8Rating: 5.8 / 10 from 9,697 usersMetascore: N/A
After Garfield's unexpected reunion with his long-lost father, ragged alley cat Vic, he and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered lives to join Vic on a risky heist.

“Monkey Man” is an action-thriller film starring, directed, and produced by Dev Patel, marking his directorial debut. The film also features Sharlto Copley, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Sikandar Kher, Adithi Kalkunte, and Zakir Hussain. Produced by Jordan Peele in collaboration with Universal Pictures, the movie had a budget of USD 10 million. But does Patel’s touch bring anything interesting to the action genre?

The plot centers on Kid (Patel), who lost his mother to a police chief named Rana (Kher) during a village eviction. Now living in the city as a street fighter known as Monkey Man, he always wears a monkey mask. Determined to avenge his mother’s death, Kid takes a job as a waiter at an elite nightclub called Kings, frequently visited by Rana. However, taking revenge proves to be more challenging than he anticipated.

The storyline follows the typical revenge-themed films like “Death Wish”, “John Wick”, and “The Beekeeper”, as well as typical Korean gangster films. The film’s brutal action sequences are its main draw, with “Monkey Man” being no exception. However, it sets itself apart by incorporating many local aspects of India, such as political issues, social status, religion, corrupt police, false prophets, prostitution, and transgender issues. The protagonist not only seeks vengeance against the police chief but also fights against a corrupt system. This adds a cultural dimension to “Monkey Man” that is different from similar films, though the action segments remain standard for the genre.

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Modern action films are known for their brutal, well-choreographed sequences, and “Monkey Man” draws heavy inspiration from “The Raid”. However, unlike “The Raid”, which features strong realism with long takes and wide shots, “Monkey Man” employs a rougher style with fast editing and close-up shots. Even the dialogue scenes use a handheld camera style, resulting in shaky and dynamic visuals. The action scenes can be uncomfortable and tiring to watch, which matches the story’s dark and gloomy tone. The film’s noir-inspired sets and predominantly night-time scenes contribute to the impression of a dirty city.

“Monkey Man” introduces cultural, political, religious, social, moral, and transgender issues into a typical revenge action plot, although the action itself is standard for the genre. Combining these elements into a cohesive story is challenging. The local cultural philosophy, featuring the monkey king Hanoman fighting against the tyrant Ravana, serves as a brilliant metaphor. “Monkey Man” is quite an achievement for a B-movie action film, especially for Patel as both star and filmmaker. While it doesn’t redefine its genre, “Monkey Man” provides a unique cultural flavor missing from many other films.

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PENILAIAN KAMI
Overall
75 %
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A lifelong cinephile, he cultivated a deep interest in film from a young age. Following his architectural studies, he embarked on an independent exploration of film theory and history. His passion for cinema manifested in 2006 when he began writing articles and film reviews. This extensive experience subsequently led him to a teaching position at the esteemed Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta. From 2003 to 2019, he enriched the minds of students by instructing them in Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory. His scholarly pursuits extended beyond the classroom. In 2008, he published his seminal work, "Understanding Film," which delves into the core elements of film, both narrative and cinematic. The book's enduring value is evidenced by its second edition, released in 2018, which has become a cornerstone reference for film and communication academics across Indonesia. His contributions extend beyond his own authorship. He actively participated in the compilation of the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Volumes 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Further solidifying his expertise, he authored both "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). His passion for film extends to the present day. He continues to provide insightful critiques of contemporary films on montasefilm.com, while actively participating in film production endeavors with the Montase Film Community. His own short films have garnered critical acclaim at numerous festivals, both domestically and internationally. Recognizing his exceptional talent, the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival shortlisted his writing for Best Film Criticism (Top 15). His dedication to the field continues, as he currently serves as a practitioner-lecturer for Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts' Independent Practitioner Program.

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