Critic Consensus: Monster would have benefited from a less heavy-handed approach, but Kelvin Harrison Jr.'s performance gives this timely drama emotional heft.
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Critic Reviews for Monster
Three years is a long time, especially these days, but even in 2018, reviews of the film balked at its gloominess and distracting filmmaking. It has not aged well.
Despite some shortcomings though, "Monster" remains a worthy watch if just for Harrison's performance.
It's harrowing in its believability alone. If only it were a better movie.
The film arrives with a timely theme and a cast whose stock has soared in the intervening time, making this one for the time capsule if nothing else... It's just that the movie adds up to less than the sum of its parts.
The film attempts to discuss race and identity politics and the way young Black men are perceived by the system, but its point is constantly obscured by the path it takes to get there.
Some American critics have complained that this distances us from the film's emotional core, but with a genre that's as ancient and overdone as the courtroom drama this acknowledgment of storytelling mechanisms seems smart and long overdue.
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