Available this Friday on Netflix, The Monster is adapted from the eponymous novel by Walter Dean Myers. This drama centered on the trial of a brilliant high school student accused of complicity in murder has an impressive cast.
What is it about ?
Monster tells the story of Steve Harmon, a brilliant 17-year-old high school student whose world falls apart when he’s accused of murder. The film follows the descent into hell of this sympathetic Harlem film student, who enters a prestigious high school before being caught in a complex legal battle that could land him in prison for the rest of his life.
Who is it with?
For his first film, director Anthony Mandler – known for his music videos from Rihanna to Taylor Swift to Drake – offers himself a very nice cast. As aspiring director and all-round good boy Steve, Kelvin Harrison Jr. takes on his first major role after getting noticed in It Comes at Night.
Around him, the cast is impressive. Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) play Steve’s worried parents. Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen) plays his film teacher, Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty) his lawyer and rapper Nas a co-inmate who watches over him.
Facing Steve, the enemies are numerous. Rakim Mayers, better known as A $ AP Rocky, plays the criminal who incriminates Steve with an impressive John David Washington, whose brief appearances electrify the film. Jharrel Jerome (In their eyes), rising figure of the moment, slips into the skin of a little thug while Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire) is a ruthless prosecutor.
The touching story of a kid with a bright future, who is on the verge of being crushed by the legal system, Le Monstre is an applied film. We can quickly guess the intention of the director to paint the portrait of an endearing young man but condemned automatically because of his skin color.
The film takes up a process that already exists in Walter Dean Myers’ book, namely that Steve is the narrator of his story and that he declines it as a script being written. If the idea is attractive in writing, it is less convincing on screen and tends to weigh on the dynamics of the film.
Fortunately, if we succeed in investing in Steve’s fate, it is thanks to the performance of Kelvin Harrison Jr. His sincerity and the depth of his emotion at the prospect of spending twenty years in prison give a real dramatic dimension. feature film. All the players also deliver very good services.
It’s just regrettable that due to its storytelling, The Monster isn’t really able to dive into the bowels of the justice system, better analyze racial prejudice, and unvarnished portrayal of what incarceration does to an individual.
And every time the movie feels like it’s about to deliver something deeper, Steve’s thoughts come in and needlessly take him in a direction that is more generic than poetic.