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‘Monkey Man’ review – Dev Patel goes berserk in violent Mumbai revenge film


Dev Patel brings gonzo mayhem to this impressive writer-director debut, with Jordan Peele serving as producer; it’s set in crowded Mumbai But it’s not an over-the-top revenge action thriller on the cliche streets, it’s also a raucous satire. A leading figure in Modi-style nationalism, Patel shows us some very serious martial arts moves, kickboxing and pounding seven kinds of shit out of a sandbag, and then there’s the bad guy – who, of course, pauses every now and then to shed a mesmerizing sweat and give us a glimpse of those sculpted abs. He also showed us a gorgeous old-fashioned men’s room, where the flimsy wooden stall walls of the toilet stalls collapsed like dominoes and every bathroom mirror was smashed into molecules.

Patel plays a man who calls himself “Bobby,” an ominous pseudonym taken from a brand of bleach; as a child, he lived in the forest with his beloved single mother, who asked him to harangue the monkey god. The story of Lord Numan fascinates me. A greedy real estate developer posing as a spiritual guru (in cahoots with a populist right-wing politician) wants the forest and, with the help of a hateful, corrupt police chief (Sikander Kher), offers a life for the child brought tragedy. Driven by a need for revenge, he infiltrates criminal organizations, waiting in the wings and earning cash while playing the role of a masked monkey boxer in a bare-knuckle tournament hosted by a leering emcee played by Sharlto Copley; Dreaming of the time when he would exact his terrible vengeance.

Patel clearly thought his movie would look like John Wick; hence the script’s rather self-conscious preemptive references to the famous Keanu Reeves franchise. But it’s not exactly the same; considering Patel’s need to avenge the death of his parents, his personal thoughts: the “wilderness” experience of growing up on the fringes of society but at the hands of wise men, and his experience in the neon-lit city A bloody and ultra-violent attack, “Monkey Man” looks more like a cross between Nicholas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” and “The Lion King.” And Patel turned it into a very exciting and stylish film. His previous acting work doesn’t make it obvious that he’d have a great action career, although his performance in “The Green Knight” may have given us a hint. He has evolved.

Monkey Man is released in the UK and Ireland from April 5th.



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