B. MONKEY is a Miramax released romantic thriller that has been on hold for release since last fall. Sleek, sharp photography mark this fetching but forgettable fable of a European female criminal who finds love and escapes her wrongful past. Starring Rupert Everett, it is led by two relatively unknown European actors, Jared Harris and Asia Argento in a completely English caper.
Argento plays Beatrice, also known as B. Monkey, an adept jewel thief, who is good with a pistol. Her partners in crime are two homosexual lovers, the witty Paul (Everett) and the brooding Bruno (Jonathan Ryes Meyers). At the height of her career, B. Monkey has a moment of pause and desires to quit robbing. Happily for her, she catches the eye of a shy schoolteacher named Alan (Harris).
Alan pursues B. Monkey, and she agrees to go out with him. This leads to a series of dates, vacations together and many moments of fornication, as well as implied impotence. All the while, she misses Paul and Bruno. Though Alan loves B., she has a lapsed moment, steals a car and roughs up a parent who bullies Alan. Harris isn’t impressed and realizes he has to take B. away to an isolated area in order to remove B. from the temptation of her past. He sets up home in Northern England in the middle of nowhere. There, their idyllic life is threatened one final time when a beat-up Paul arrives followed by Bruno, who is loyal to his angry crime boss who is bent on destroying B. for leaving the business.
More of a romance than a crime story, this movie actually contains a lot of obsessive talk about B. and other people. While B. and Harris enjoy each other’s company, their common goals seem primarily to revolve around sex. All this is accented by Bruno obsessing over B. (making him bisexual), and Paul obsessing matronly over B. and lustfully over Bruno.
In the middle of this sex-filled, muddled mess is a young woman who wants to do right. Her boyfriend praises her new life, encourages her to remain good and rebukes her when she falls. He even follows the biblical mandate to remove yourself from temptation. He takes B. away to live in the country.
Yet, despite this noble motive, sex and violence, British accents and chic interiors only remain, creating a mood and a style but little else. Most people will not be convinced of any moral merit here, and so, B. MONKEY probably will only appeal to Everett fans and Miramax aficionados. Also, some cocaine use and a few other shocking moments limit this movie’s appeal.
Romantic worldview contending that romantic love can transform a criminal with several pagan criminal acts & some moral elements of rebuking crime; 68 obscenities & 6 profanities; moderate violence including breaking & entering, beating, man busts man's jaw, vandalizing car, skirmishes and altercations, boy stabs boy's cheek with pencil, fantasy sequence where woman is stabbed with scissors & shooting; strong sexuality including implied & depicted fornication scenes, sexual sounds & oral sex strongly implied; full but obscured male & female nudity including partial, brief image of female genitalia; alcohol use; smoking, cocaine use & rolling marijuana cigarettes; and, lying, vomiting & urination, & some homosexuality implied.