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Monsters and Men
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Monsters and Men

Monsters and Men

Maybe some day the world won’t need movies like “Monsters and Men,” which take the issue of police brutality as their subject and focus on little else. Simultaneously subtle and on-the-nose, this original yet under-cooked examination of such a pressing issue centers on three characters — an eyewitness who captured it all on his cell phone, an African-American police officer routinely confronted by racism on the job, and a local high school student who’s transformed from passive bystander to activist by the events — who serve as the prismatic lens by which first-time director Reinaldo Marcus Green considers the myriad ramifications of such an event.

Structured in an unusual (and ultimately unsatisfying) “La Ronde”-like format, whose focus shifts from one protagonist to the next, spending roughly half an hour with each without resolving any of their individual stories along the way, “Monsters and Men” stands apart from such police-shooting melodramas as Charles Burnett’s “The Glass Shield” or last year’s “Detroit.” Whereas those movies veer toward outrage and indignation, Green (brother of “Gun Hill Road” director Rashaad Ernesto Green) attempts a more soft-spoken, empathy-driven approach in hope that audiences who have previously reached their own conclusions will consider other sides of the picture.

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