Netflix’s Monster Review: Who is the Real ‘Monster’?

“What do you see when you look at me?”

Monster is a 1 hour 40 minutes movie directed by Anthony Mandler which is currently streaming on Netflix. The story is about a black teenage boy who is on trial for a robbery cum murder scene.


It is a crime drama that shows a mirror to societal issues. The story is about a 17-year-old black boy named Steve Harmon (played by Kelvin Harrinson Jr.) who loves to shoot films and click photographs and wants to tell a story through his works. He wants to study at a film school and pursue his career as a filmmaker. But, destiny has something else planned for him.

The film opens with the ring of a gunshot, and after that, we can see a cop asking a young boy about his whereabouts. And we get to know that he is Steven, the protagonist of the story.

As Monster unfurls further, we see Steve capture moments on his camera from different places because he is trying to make a film for his school’s film club. At one point, he meets with a local drug dealer William King (ASAP Rocky) and starts roaming around places with him for shooting different stories.

Next thing you know, Mr King and his cousin John David Washington (Bobo) plan a robbery targetting a shop and accidentally kills the shop owner. In that murder case, Steve gets entangled, and cops arrest him for allegedly being a partner in that crime.

The whole film is mostly based on courtroom scenes where the trial goes on. Now, what happens to a young black boy? Well, people prepare their mindset to accuse that person as guilty even if he’s not. That’s what happened in this movie also, and director Anthony has done a really good job in showcasing the truth of society. So, what happened to Steve? Was he under any charge, or was he proven guilty? What did the jury decide? Not giving any spoilers, but if I have to give a verdict regarding the identity of the real monster, I would say, society! To know this, give Anthony’s debut feature film Monster a watch.


Monster: Why should you watch it?

Kelvin, in the role of Steve, has done a tremendous job in showcasing raw emotions. The way he portrayed his anger, pain, and helplessness deserves special mention. I really like Steve and his brother Jerry’s sweet bond. In one part, Jerry asks which superhero would Steve want to be, and he replies, “Why would I want to be a superhero when I can be your brother.”

The music score of the film, too, really makes it stand out. Music video director Anthony debuts in feature films with a very strong message. He combined and weaved the scenes with utmost delicacy without crossing any line. Other actors have done their part too. This movie is mainly based on a 1999 young-adult novel by Walter Dean Myers, Monster.

Why you might want to skip it?

The plot is not like you haven’t seen it before. It’s a predictable story, but I felt that there was more room for Steve’s parents, played by Jennifer Hudson (mother) and Jeffrey Wright (father), to enact on their son’s trial. I felt the emotions lacked a bit. But it’s a good one-time watch.

Monster is currently streaming on Netflix.

Did you like the Monster review? Read our other reviews here.




Monster is a crime drama that shows a mirror to society. It's mostly predictable, but still heart-touching regardless.
A movie buff who does some writing stuff.

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