After resisting arrest, a young man is unarmed but gunned down by the officer anyway. Monsters and Men follows characters during the aftermath of this police shooting and how it affects the lives of others, regardless of whether or not they had been related. The core story revolves around the teenager who filmed the shooting and how it affects him on an emotional level, a police officer who is ridiculed for the way that he chooses to look at the event, and a young baseball prospect, who happens to have a policeman as a father. The way these stories sort of intertwine will either work for you or it won't, but I found this particular story to be incredibly engaging.
Many viewers may be thrown off by the slow pace and long scenes of self-reflection, but I personally found these moments to non-verbally give depth to each of these characters. For instance, the opening sequence of the movie showcases an off-duty cop being pulled over, simply because the colour of his skin didn't sit well with the police officer who pulled him over. This sequence sets the overall message of the movie in motion and his police officer easily became my favourite portion of the film, delivering one of the best speeches I've heard all year. It's quite eye-opening and really makes you think twice about the way news and media manipulate stories on a daily basis.
Where this film started to lose me, however, was in its final few moments. Once the first two acts conclude and every message the film wanted to give has been given, you can clearly see where the film will probably end its run, and it does nothing to deviate from that. The story is the strongest when it's following these characters, but it becomes a very simplistic film by the end. I found myself wondering why the filmmakers chose to end on such an easy note, but it also doesn't hurt the movie in any way either. I was frustrated, solely due to the fact that the performances were terrific and the story progressed so nicely, but it chose to play it safe (possibly to not offend or manipulate any of its viewers).
In the end, Monsters and Men is an upcoming feature film that I don't believe is receiving anywhere near the marketing that it deserves, which is a real shame, due to the fact that it's quite a good film all around. From the quiet moments that build character, to the score that almost becomes its own character, to the continuous messages placed throughout the film, I was engaged from start to finish. There are surely some moments that play it too safe, but this is a very well-crafted story that deserves to be seen by many. I recommend checking it out if it's playing in your area, or even on demand eventually.