Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Monkey Man, a Masterpiece to Remember

This past weekend was packed full of releases ranging from various musicians, all the way to the silver screen as actor Dev Patel made his directorial debut with the release of his action film “Monkey Man.”


The film is rooted in South Asian culture depicting a modern adaptation of the legend of Hanuman, a deity in Hinduism. Patel not only directs, but stars in the movie, portraying the Hanuman-inspired character. 


The film is absolutely packed with revolutionary action scenes and stands as an incredible development for South Asian and transgender representation in Hollywood today. It tells a phenomenal tale about corruption, touches on class, and is wrapped within an electrifying action-filled plot.


Patel’s character, Kid, sets out on a mission to get revenge on individuals we as the audience only see glimpses of. While we aren’t aware of the context, we are coaxed into rooting for the protagonist throughout the film. 


This is such an intriguing way to set up a connection between Kid and the audience. Also, the sheer intention of not even providing the main character with a name provides the genuine feel of him being a “nobody.” It opens up the possibility for the audience to identify with him as well since he appears to be just the average person.


In terms of representation, Kid is saved after almost being arrested and brought to a temple led by Alpha. Alpha, a transgender woman, is a figure within the temple, whose beliefs do not consider the traditional gender binary. In an interview with Variety, Patel stressed that he wanted to show hijra representation in the film as considered to be the third gender in India.


Alpha’s character is one integral to the plot as she is the catalyst for Kid’s transformation into a stronger, more driven version of himself. Alpha, as well as other gender-nonconforming individuals from the temple assist Kid in his efforts to seek revenge on corrupt leaders who wronged him in his childhood.


Having transgender representation where they are genuine, fleshed-out characters and aid the protagonist is refreshing in comparison to some poor representation we have had over the years. It also came as a surprise considering the trailers were focused on the action. I feel that representation like that is important since so often we either receive poor representation or it is publicized and used as a kind of cash-grab instead of focusing on developing genuine characters. 


I will leave the ending and big reveal for those who go to see the film in theaters, and I truly hope people go and do so.


This film’s success tells Hollywood that it did something right and from the sheer amount of representation featured throughout it, this is such an important movie to support and promote. It is not often that a South Asian-led and directed film gets the opportunity for a standing ovation at South by Southwest (SXSW), a popular film festival.


This movie features quite a lot of gore, but the intensity of these scenes truly paints a picture of our protagonist’s frustration and desire for revenge.


Dev Patel not only served a gripping performance in this movie, but it’s an extraordinary film in general for his history-making directorial debut.

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