"Monsters and Men"

This film reminded me of “Tree of Life” and “Menace II Society.” Manny, a man rebuilding his life, witnesses the murder of a beloved community member. The aftermath changes the lives of two other people and their eventual choices.

The performances are the saving grace of this film. Anthony Ramos gives a well-rounded performance as Manny, truly evoking the emotion of the film. John David Washington is distinguishable and clean-shaven as Dennis Williams, a police officer grappling with the strife of his people and his position. Kelvin Harrison Jr. is incredible as Zyrick, who enters the screen with power and curiosity. Nicole Beharie is stunning as Michelle, Dennis’ compassionate and protective wife. Jasmine Cephas Jones delivers comfort and accountability as Marisol. The women in the film do extraordinary work to not just be background characters. The children are wonderful in the film, providing a hope and motivation for the story. Rob Morgan, Chanté Adams, Brian Pollock, Joe Tippett, J.W. Cortes and Daniel Sherman Stewart lead a commanding supporting cast.

Writer and Director Reinaldo Marcus Green captures the beauty of the neighborhood. In the slew of films aiming to portray the plight of people of color, this film falls flat in parts with empty plot points. It feels like three different stories without a thread. I was confused in a couple of pivotal parts in the film. Composer Kris Bowers crafted a wonderful score along with songs capturing the essence of each scene. I believe the film is worth watching for the optimism and the darkness. Towards the end of the film, I was on the edge of anticipation.

You can stream this film on Hulu.