Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington
Based on the novel by Walter Dean Myers, Monster tells the courtroom story of Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a teenager charged with felony murder.
There have been a lot of courtroom dramas over the past few years and Monster does try and set itself apart with first person story telling. Harmon is a budding filmmaker therefore the film is rife with clever viewpoints, movie jargon and Harmon using different lenses to tell us his story.
For the most part this works but at times it works against itself. A lot of the usual court room tension is cut and spliced in to a montage, presuming that we’ve heard all of the different testimonies in countless movies gone by. At first this is refreshing but it ends up doing the story no favours, losing some of the tension along the way. Consequently the big punches don’t land as hard as they could.
The cast is stellar, with every person doing their bit. Jeffrey Wright does his best as Harmon’s Father while John David Washington is truly chilling as BoBo. The only character who doesn’t get a look in is Harmon’s mother, played by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson is a fantastic actor and so it was a shame that her character seemed overlooked.
At first this has clear comparisons to the sensational, When They See Us and hits some of the same notes, with less of the weight.
Monster available now on Netflix