Cube Critics

Cube Critics discuss ‘Manhunt’ and ‘Monkey Man’

Two side by side photos
Dev Patel in "Monkey Man" (left) and Anthony Boyle in "Manhunt."
Universal Pictures | Apple TV+

Cube Critics Regina Medina and Max Sparber discuss a miniseries about the killing of Lincoln and a psychedelic action film set in India.

The following are capsule reviews edited from the audio heard using the player above.


“Manhunt,” streaming on Apple TV+, is an engaging historical drama series that captures the intense pursuit of John Wilkes Booth following his assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Styled as a 19th century version of the modern thriller “24,” the series substitutes advanced technology with the era’s horses and Morse code, adding a unique twist to the chase narrative.

The series centers on Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, portrayed by Tobias Menzies of “Outlander” fame, who leads the manhunt with a deeply personal vendetta due to his admiration for Lincoln.

Patton Oswalt adds a distinct flavor to the show, playing the head of a federal law enforcement agency and infusing his characteristic vibes into the historical setting.

“Manhunt” employs a series of flashbacks that enrich the storyline by providing historical context and depth to the decisions and strategies employed during the hunt.

— Regina Medina

‘Monkey Man’

“Monkey Man,” the directorial debut of the charming English actor Dev Patel, who also co-wrote and stars in the film, is a hallucinogenic action thriller set in India.

Patel portrays a young man seeking revenge against the religious extremists and corrupt politicians responsible for destroying his village. The film is heavily inspired by the rise of right-wing ultra-nationalism in India.

“Monkey Man” begins with a gritty portrayal of underground fights where Patel wears a monkey mask, paired with his rise in a flashy yet squalid brothel.

The production, budgeted at about $10 million, punches well above its weight class, presenting street and fight scenes that are both energized and aesthetically pleasing, appearing as if the film cost 10 times as much.

Midway, the film shifts dramatically as Patel’s character finds himself in a temple belonging to Hijra, a community of transsexual, intersex and other third sex individuals that exists in real-life India.

Here, the narrative takes on elements of John Wick and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “The Holy Mountain.”

After consuming a psychedelic root, Patel’s character transforms into an incarnation of the monkey god Hanuman, redirecting his quest from personal vengeance to fighting for broader justice issues — although against the same villains.

The latter part of the film is both brutal and dazzling, with scenes drenched in shocking gore. The movie’s unique style and narrative shift make it difficult to describe without resorting to invented or old-fashioned words like “psilocybonic” and “cataphysical.”

— Max Sparber