Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Mike Armstrong's relentlessly downbeat script allows Demme to develop an ensnaring camaraderie coupled with a dark destructiveness that recalls Eugene O'Neill.
  2. The dialogue and the ensemble acting maintain a near-perfect pitch.
  3. Reviewed by: Justine Elias
    Under Ted Demme's accomplished direction, the film unfolds with a kind of ruthless simplicity, observing, rather than stating, the neighborhood's intricate social connections.
  4. Reviewed by: Bruce Diones
    It's Leary who's the real surprise here; his sincere, tough-guy performance is mesmerizing. He lifts the film above its familiar, claustrophobic environment into the gritty realism of very good urban drama.
  5. 78
    Leary, Demme, and screenwriter Mike Armstrong have come up with a brilliant, harrowing portrait of misplaced loyalties and savage valor that may be one of the best character-driven ensemble pieces to come around in some time.
  6. 75
    There is a whole genre of films about childhood friends still living in the old neighborhood and going down the drain of crime and drugs. Few of them capture the fatigue and depression, and the futility, as well as this one, in which the characters hold on to their self-respect by obeying the very rules that are grinding them down.
  7. Director Ted Demme (with a terse script by Mike Armstrong) keeps it darkly funny while exposing raw nerves in a buildup to unexpected tragedy.
  8. 75
    With fresh dialogue and a willingness to show his protagonists in a less-than-favorable light, Demme has found a way to make this entry memorable.
  9. Monument Ave. is a cinematic dead-end street that is not without its gloomy, gritty thrills -- assuming, that is, that you're not in the market for a hero or even the slightest feather of that thing called hope. [09 Oct 1998, Pg.N.49]
  10. 70
    Set in an expressively underlit environment, this rivetingly moody drama is enhanced by the restrained use of incidental music.
  11. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    Though too short to earn any real sympathy for the characters, and too slow to generate any excitement, Monument Ave. is moderately haunting and occasionally affecting.
  12. But where would these lads be without the pop-culture-happy language of Quentin Tarantino to fuel their bull sessions? Nowhere, that's where.
  13. 63
    The fewer movies like this you've already seen, the better this one will play.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The only problem is that the great majority of screen time is devoted to the kind of loutish, drunken, small-minded, confrontational macho posturing that, in assorted ethnic stripes, has been paraded across the screen innumerable times in recent years.
  15. The story has some chillingly suspenseful episodes, although it's marred by overfamiliar themes and weak dialogue.

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