This was a very powerful film that really makes you look at yourself and the stereotypes that you push on to other people, although I do wish the ending was a bit different.
Monster follows the story of a 17-year-old boy called Steve who has grown up in the poorer end of town, but has family that are quite well off. He is a film student that has been caught up in a robbery gone wrong that ended up with the murder of the shopkeeper and he is on trial for playing a part in that murder.
Throughout the film we see Steve as a typical 17-year-old. He has friends, a girlfriend, hobbies, and dreams for the future and he seems like a typical normal boy, but you can see from the outside and other elements of his life that they could take him down a different path. He hangs out with people who are much older than him that maybe he shouldn’t be hanging out with because of who they are. He associates with people that are on the wrong side of the tracks, and while he himself seems like a typical normal young boy, the way his life could go could be dramatically different to the way it is going so far.
During the trial we get to know more about Steve, he professes his innocence immediately, and we get to see how the defence and the prosecution label him as a troubled teenager with bad connections.
As the audience watching this we get to come to a conclusion about him and about what he could or couldn’t have done. You get to see both sides of the story, you know that he has these connections with the man who did kill the shopkeeper, but at the same time you find it hard to believe that he would’ve had anything to do with it because he seems to be such a sweet lad.
As the film continues you find out more and more about what actually happened and I hoped that we wouldn’t find out what the jury decides at the end. The whole point of this movie is looking at yourself and how you label these people in society, and with Steve to come from a bad area but with such a good background, can it really change your opinion on these sort of areas in America?
At the end we find out that he did have a role to play in the murder, he was the lookout, he was the person that they were claiming him to be yet the whole time he claims his innocence. It’s clear to see that he was coerced into doing this and probably felt that he had no choice, but you do wonder in the justice system should he really be let out and not guilty? Or should he go down for what he did because ultimately he did have a part to play?
In the final moments of the film Steve asks you, the audience, what you see when you look at him, do you see a monster or do you see a young boy that was coerced into the situation? And that’s why I wish we didn’t find out whether he got a guilty or not guilty verdict because I would love to have a discussion around this film about what people who watched it believe. Do they see him as guilty? Do they see him as innocent? And what would they have picked if they were on the jury?
I do not see this boy as a monster. I see him as a young man who was pulled into this world that he didn’t fully understand. He has goals, he has dreams, and he has ambitions and I do believe that if he got a not guilty verdict and was let out on the streets he wouldn’t do something like this again, because that’s not who he is. But at the same time he did have a part to play in the murder so really should he be allowed out at all? It’s very awkward as they talk a lot about how the view within the law system is very black-and-white but yet this case is so grey, and I would love to know what you think as well if you’ve watched it.
If you haven’t watched it I highly recommend it as it is a great thought piece on the law system, how we view people and our own stereotypes against them, and also how we would have decided if we were the jury, whether Steve was innocent or not.
Until next time.