Dev Patel directorial debut ‘Monkey Man’ earns rave reviews

Dev Patel directorial debut ‘Monkey Man’ earns rave reviewsDev Patel directorial debut ‘Monkey Man’ earns rave reviews
via Universal Pictures
Dev Patel’s first-ever directorial film “Monkey Man” earned a perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes after its succesful premiere at the 2024 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.
Key points:
  • “Monkey Man” premiered at SXSW on Monday, wherein the 33-year-old Indian British actor received a rare standing ovation. 
  • Following its premiere, Patel’s film garnered an impressive 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes before settling at 91%, as of this writing, as more reviews came in. 
The details:
  • “Monkey Man,” which was also co-written by Patel, follows Kid (portrayed by Patel), an anonymous young man seeking revenge against corrupt leaders who killed his mother. Produced by Jordan Peele, the movie features Kid surviving in an underground fight club, enduring brutal beatings while wearing a gorilla mask to earn money. He sets out on a journey to infiltrate the city’s elite circles to exact revenge on those responsible for his trauma.
  • The action thriller film was originally set for a Netflix release before Peele helped Universal Pictures acquire its global rights for $30 million. It is now scheduled for a theatrical release on April 5.
  • At the SXSW World Premiere, Peele introduced Patel ahead of the screening. He praised Patel’s multifaceted role in “Monkey Man,” saying, “I’ve never seen someone pour his heart, soul, body, mind and energy into a film, into a story more than this man.” Patel later appeared to tear up after receiving a standing ovation when the credits rolled.
  • The action-packed thriller has been compared to the “John Wick” movie franchise and has received rave reviews from several film critics. “‘Monkey Man’ burns with the passion and nerve of a filmmaker who thinks he’s not going to direct another film ever again,” wrote Jacob Hall of Slash Film.
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Patel’s film inspiration: 
  • Set in India, the film draws inspiration from the legend of Hanuman, a half-monkey, half-huma Hindu god symbolizing strength and bravery. Inspired by his childhood love for action movies and tales from his grandfather, the film also draws from Patel’s admiration for Bruce Lee, South Korean cinema and Bollywood
  • Despite setbacks, including filming during COVID-19, Patel poured himself into the project, even performing stunts with injuries. He aimed to imbue the action genre with genuine emotion and cultural depth, portraying a protagonist who defies stereotypes and represents the underdog.
  • “What you’re going to see is a guy who doesn’t have a quip for every scenario, isn’t the heftiest dude in the room, and doesn’t look like he’s going to win. Because he’s an underdog. And that’s what I’ve felt like my whole f*cking life,” said the filmmaker. “Basically, this is a story about an underdog, being helped by a whole other load of underdogs to realize their true power collectively.”
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