Monster Movie Review: Mohanlal's Thriller on Disney+ Hotstar is Not Just Awful, It is Homophobic Too! – LatestLY

Monster Movie Review: I had thought I had seen the worst Mohanlal movie in recent times in Neyyattinkara Gopante Aaraattu. I had thought Lalettan can never get more irritating or sexist or annoying as he was in Aaraattu and even in 12th Man. Boy, how wrong I was? For this is where Pulimurugan director Vysakh barged in with his latest crime thriller entertainer Monster and told us to ‘hold his beer’. Damn it, dear Mohanlal, why this Kolaveri Di to some of us life-long admirers of your art? Monster Review: Mohanlal’s Malayalam Thriller Receives Mixed Reactions from Netizens.
Having missed watching this film in theatre and having recently caught it after its OTT premiere in Disney+ Hotstar, I found Monster to fall in that club of Mohanlal films that continue to reiterate why the Malayalam superstar is in an urgent need to find fresh brood of directors to work with. Of course, the warning bells were ringing for me right when the first poster of Monster came out a few months back and had Mohanlal in a Sikh getup. That was never going to bode well, right?
So when we see him first in the movie, Mohanlal plays Lucky Singh, a Malayali who masquerades as a Sikh, maybe because he watched way too much reruns of the director’s previous mockery of the community in Mallu Singh. Lucky Singh comes to Kochi, and Bhamini (Honey Rose), who works as a driver for a car hire agency, is assigned to drive him around. Bhamini is married to an IT professional Anil (Sudev Nair), who has a daughter from previous marriage and is presently jobless after an accident left him crippled. On that very day, Bhamini and Anil were celebrating their first wedding anniversary but Lucky Singh becomes an annoying intruder to their privacy.
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The first half of Monster is Mohanlal playing a character in that annoying way which he has loved to perfect and thinks that is what his fans are expecting from him. I wonder why no one in his creative team ever told him that he is basically repeating the kind of character trope that the actor has himself used in films like Loham and Aaraattu, where the character is way too talkative in the first half and irritating as hell, but later turns out to be some kind of undercover officer. Also, someone should have told him that making crass jokes and acting creepy towards women in the name of comedy is never a good picture for the superstar.
Look, from the writing perspective of this character, I understand that this was his way to make his target uncomfortable and unsettled. But why is there a need to show such scenes in a comic light? A darker tone would have pulled off the same thing with a better impact. Also, why the need to make Lalettan act like a Sardar and expose the rough edges of a ‘Complete Actor’? In a time where Malayalam Cinema is getting more appreciation thanks to its reach through OTT, I wish non-Malayali viewers would get to see the Mohanlal of Dasharatham, Kireedam, Bharatham and Manichitrathazhu (and many more such gems) that we have loved and adored, instead of this irksome parody of a persona that Lalettan needs to give a break asap. Which is why I am grateful for the fact that a film like Drishyam 2 still exists in the periphery. Aaraattu Movie Review: Mohanlal’s Latest ‘Entertainer’ Is an Terrible Cacophony of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Superstar’s Past Films.
Anyway, if Mohanlal’s Punjabi play was annoying in the first half, the second half – where thankfully, he ditches the Lucky Singh act – is annoying for a whole other reason. Near the interval, a predictable reveal about the character happens, a murder takes place, Bhamini gets implicated in it, and I quite welcomed the change in tone from there. Not that the film becomes better from here, but it is less jerky in comparison. The murder investigation scenes are mildly interesting but there is nothing here that makes you sit at the edge of the seat. Because you know that even though the film wants us to see Lucky Singh as some kind of ‘monster’ there, it forgot that it has cast Mohanlal in that role, so we know that there is a twist waiting to happen that shows things are not what it seems.
And that twist surely arrives and here’s where Monster becomes its most problematic. Thanks to its Gulf censorship issues, the fact that Monster deals with LGBTQIA+ themes is now a well-known fact to all, and it comes to play in the third act. However, the film uses it as some kind of a gotcha moment, forgetting the fact that Rosshan Andrrews had pulled off the same trick back in 2013 with Mumbai Police. Even apart from that ‘twist’, Vyshakh and screenwriter Udayakrishna crudely use that plot element to vilify two characters in the film and justify their murderous urges, and then allow its eponymous hero to sermonise on how new law amendments have made it safer for same sex couples to live in India. By then, my forehead screamed at me painfully to not slap it for what has been the 43rd time! Simply put, Monster‘s  ‘defense’ of LGBTQIA+ rights is just the same as Sooryavanshi belting out the qualities of what being a good Muslim in India is.
Even when you leave aside this obviously homophobic treatment, the finale of Monster is simply limp thanks to some very terrible action choreography, trite melodrama and Lakshmi Manchu’s distracting lip-sync issues.
Monster is a film that, apart from its insensitive handling of its LGBTQIA+ plot element, also lets down its hero big time with a shoddily written character and a lacklustre plot that has twists and turns, but never the smartness to pull them off. The only redeeming quality of this film is that it is not as frustratingly long as Aaraattu.  Monster is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 03, 2022 12:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).
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