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Monsters and Men

This film tells the stories of three different men after the shooting of an unarmed black man in a bodega in New York City. Manny, who is friends with Darius, a popular street hustler, witnesses his shooting and records it on his camera. He wrestles with what to do with the film and the impact that it will have on his mother, girlfriend, and daughter. Dennis is a Black police officer who finds himself caught, especially in conversations with his wife, between acknowledging what happened and his need to defend what the police do. Finally, Zyric is a 17-year old rising baseball star who is being recruited by college teams. He watches the video of the shooting of Darius and decided that he needs to do something, but he is not sure exactly what. The film provides a fascinating exploration of the motivations and contexts of each of these three men. Ultimately, the power of the film, and where it works best, is when the director, Reinaldo Marcus Green, examines the intersections of race and authority. The film is well acted – the three leading men convincingly portray their characters who are struggling with decisions and choices that have deep consequences for their own lives and those of others (although the consequences are not as well-developed as they could be).  It’s a film that appears inspired by the many unarmed young Black men who have been shot by the police, yet it brings a level of complexity that goes beyond what we hear in the news. Big thumbs up for a thought-provoking, realistic film that provides fuller context to how these shootings impact the lives of people of color. I look forward to future films by Greene; I really enjoyed his perspective on this important social issue.

About Gary Burkholder

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