Monster review: Contemplative piece on shifting moral perspectives.

Monster review: Contemplative piece on shifting moral perspectives.

Monster review: Contemplative piece on shifting moral perspectives.  

What: Centred on shifting moral perspectives, Monster is a compassionate and complex tale with a meditative storytelling that weaves the incident and its examination from the different vantage points.

Monster movie synopsis

A widowed mother of Mugino Minato, an elementary school goer in a small suburban town nestled around a lake in Japan notices strange and disturbing behaviour in her child and files a complaint against his allegedly abusive teacher. But things may not be the same as they seem to be.

Saori Mugino (Sakura Ando) has lost her husband and lives with her fifth-grader son Minato, in a small apartment. Though they share a warm dynamic, Minato exhibits complex behaviour like cutting his own hair and coming back home with one shoe. When she confronts him, she learns about Mr. Hori (Eita Nagayama), his teacher at school, who seems to have tortured Minato in his class. A furious Saori meets the school delegates along with the impassive Principal and all of them, including Hori, apologize to her. But she demands a suspension of the teacher. She is also cited as being over-protective like any typical single mother in retaliation by Hori who alleges that Minato as a bully, hitting his bestie Husi.

One a bright morning following a stormy night, Minato along with his Husi, goes missing in the forest which harbours their place of solace, a dilapidated and broken train compartment. From there on, there is a shift in the film’s tonality and mood which lends an entirely different perspective of viewing the same incident.


Monster movie review

Director Hirokazu Kore-da casts a meditative gaze into the scheme of things with vibrant visuals and intimate frames.

Easing the complicated nature of the subject, Hirokazu Kore-da extracts simply brilliant performances from the two kids, Minato and Husi - played by Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiragi, respectively, while also demonstrating that he's a master of atmospherics. He employs myriad subtleties – like the equation between Minato and Husi insinuates at queer love, and Minato’s violent spurts attributed to a sort of defiance, and denial, which is a testament to a nuanced understanding of a child’s psyche.


Monster - final words

The Japanese film which earned worldwide acclaim and garnered several recognitions tugs at your heartstrings with its important messaging around out thinking and how we harbour certain prejudices that can disrupt the social equilibrium. Though the ending tends to confuse the audience, I was swayed by the disarming question about who the eponymous monster was! Although bolstered with sunny milieu, Monster has a bleak world view that interrogates the intense equation between the two kids and their forbidden love.

I go with 4 stars out of 5 for Monster. The movie is running at select theatres near you.


Rating : 4/5

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About Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee, is an IT Techie/Business Consultant by profession and a film critic/cinephile by passion, is also associated with Radio Playback as well, loves writing and conducting movie quizzes. More By Ahwaan Padhee

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