Monkey Man – Dev Patel – Movie Review by Efe Teksoy


Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the action, drama, and adventure film “MONKEY MAN”,  for America’s Los Angeles-based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.



The action and thriller film Monkey Man, which made its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2024, is the feature-length directorial debut of Oscar nominee Dev Patel. The majority of the movie was shot in Batam, Indonesia. Director and producer Dev Patel collaborated with cinematographer Sharone Meir to capture Indonesia’s legendary beauty like India and bring a frenetic yet thoughtful energy to the scenes he chose. Dev Patel, who wrote the script with Paul Angunawela and John Collee, was inspired by childhood stories while imagining the story of the Ape Man, and took one of the oldest Indian mythologies, added a modern interpretation to it and transferred it to the film as a brand new superhero epic. Netflix purchased the worldwide rights to the film, the shooting of which was completed on March 12, 2021, and it was described as “John Wick in Mumbai”.  It was planned to be released on Netflix, but Peele felt that the film deserved a theatrical release and acquired the rights to the film under the name Monkeypaw Productions, which has a distribution agreement with Universal Pictures. Dev Patel also found partners to bring Ape Man to life, including producers Jomon Thomas, Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Christine Haebler, Sam Sahni, and Anjay Nagpal, a group of like-minded creatives who support independent storytelling. Although Monkey Man follows in the footsteps of groundbreaking action films such as John Wick, it contains a more philosophical and intellectual story in the background. This production, which brings a different breath to the action genre, falls into the “Fighting – Art Film” category, which is a new film genre, unlike conventional martial arts films (as said by cinematographer Sharone Meir). Award-winning costume designers and twin sisters Divvya Gambhir and Nidhi Gambhir (Sonchiriya, Sam Bahadur) led the team that designed the production’s dynamic costumes in Monkey Man, which takes viewers on a fascinating journey from the streets of Yatana to the glittering extravagance of the King’s Club.



Kid, an anonymous teenager who makes a living in an underground fight club and is brutally beaten by more popular fighters every night while wearing a gorilla mask for money, plots revenge against the corrupt leaders who killed his mother and victimize the poor and powerless. After years of repressed anger, Kid discovers a way to infiltrate the area where the city’s sinister elite live.



Writer/director/producer Dev Patel; When he imagined the story of the Ape Man, he could not have guessed that this tale inspired by his childhood stories would be his directorial debut. Patel said, “When I was a child, my grandfather introduced me to the story of Hanuman, the Monkey God. I’m amazed at how many modern comics draw inspiration from Eastern philosophy and iconography. I spent about eight years of my life, between projects, poring over this script,” he says. The Monkey Man is inspired by the legend of the Hindu god Hanuman, a symbol of wisdom, strength, courage, devotion, and self-discipline. The Monkey Man is inspired by the legend of the Hindu god Hanuman, a symbol of wisdom, strength, courage, devotion, and self-discipline. The legend of the divine monkey dates back to B.C. Between 1500 BC It is said to date back to around 1200 BC and first appeared in a hymn in the Rigveda, a collection of ancient hymns considered one of the four sacred canonical Hindu texts. Hanuman, featured in the Sanskrit epics “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana”, is the symbol of freedom. Physically invincible but profoundly human, Hanuman warns his disciples of the “dangerous nature of unbridled power.”. According to legend, as a child, Hanuman fell from the sky and broke his jaw while trying to catch the sun. Hanuman, loved by his disciples, now connects to the Divine by serving his people. Patel’s film brings this myth into the modern world, where Kid, a broken teenager, becomes a powerful weapon and an avenging angel against corrupt, powerful leaders who oppress the people they are supposed to serve. The film is set in the fictional Indian city of Yatana, a Sanskrit word that can mean “struggle or effort” as well as “revenge”.



To create the fictional Indian city of Yatana, director Dev Patel and Thai production designer Pawas Sawatchaiyamet looked to the world of superheroes. Pawas Sawatchaiyamet, “Dev saw that the story was set in this kind of world. Thinking of Gotham as the dark side of New York, we created Yatana as the dark version of Mumbai. This was a bright and clever idea that spurred me to see a new way to design the Monkey Man. Dev was extremely passionate about the story and clearly knew what he wanted. I’m proud to be a part of his first film.”



Although the production was shot in Batam, Indonesia, Sawatchaiyamet says he and his team “Tried to preserve the essence of India.” Sawatchaiyamet was already familiar with Indian iconography and imagery. The influence of Indian culture is evident throughout much of South Asia and beyond. Sawatchaiyamet says, “In Thailand, we grew up with Indian influence over a long period of time, including religion, culture, and mythology. The premise of Monkey Man is quite relatable to me. The hero returns to take revenge on the oppressor, the poor fight against the rich, and The oppressed at the bottom of society go to war with the enemy at the top. These are all rich textures representing different social classes.”

The idea of ​​social hierarchy inspired the design of the elevator at the King’s Club. As the elevator ascends from the ground floor kitchen to the top floor of the elite brothel, the light and color inside the elevator change. Sawatchaiyamet says; “This represents the idea of ​​a Kid growing up. Step by step, he gets closer to his goal.”



For Monkey Man, SFX supervisor DAVID “OPA” MESLOH (The Clearing) and his team created some truly stunning practical effects. In fact, these effects are so perfect that the producers state that most viewers will think that there are no effects in the movie. In the scenes where the Kings Club nightclub burns down, the SFX team used a combination of practical flames on the exterior set and also filmed live fire elements on stage. In addition to the local team in Indonesia, teams from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, the USA, and Malaysia were brought together. Approximately 120 extras, including children, took part in the village burning scene. Practical effects were used for all the burning and collapsing buildings.



AdvertisementThe new Emirates Premium Economy has arrived on the latest Emirates A380 Emirates Get the best value from your summer holiday with exclusive offers and discounts across Dubai and the UAE with Emirates Pass