As the world is finally waking up to the realities of black life in America, the movies are following suit. “Fruitvale Station,” Ryan Coogler’s debut feature, borrowed directly from news headlines to explore a killing of an unarmed black man. In “Monsters and Men,” first-time feature director Reinaldo Marcus Green explores similar territory, this time fictionalizing an event that has become all-too familiar. “Monsters and Men” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2018, where it picked up a Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature. It was picked up by powerhouse distributor Neon, which just released the first trailer ahead of a fall release.
The film tells its story from three different perspectives, and is set in the tight-knit community of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. A young father named Manny (Anthony Ramos) witnesses a police shooting of an unarmed black man, filming it on his phone. When Manny’s video goes viral, police officer Dennis (John David Washington, son of Denzel), must deal with the consequences from his conflicted position. The third storyline follows Zee (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a high school baseball player whom Richard sees being searched without cause.
In his review of the film out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “Green’s quietly effective drama functions less as a linear narrative than a three-point meditation on African American identity at a moment of profound confusion.”
Check out the gripping trailer for “Monsters and Men” below.