Movie Review: Monolith, dir: Matt Vesely

In the vast cosmos of sci-fi cinema, “Monolith” emerges like a mysterious artifact, beckoning with its dark allure. Directed by Matt Vesely and graced by Lily Sullivan’s magnetic solo performance, this film carves its niche within the genre through a minimalist yet profound exploration of isolation, obsession, and the human condition.

At its core, “Monolith” is a study in contradictions. It’s a slow burn, yet intensely captivating; it’s minimalistic, yet rich in thematic depth. Sullivan plays a disgraced journalist, clawing her way back into relevance through a podcast exploring the enigmatic appearance of black, monolithic bricks that seem to hold an unnatural aura. What begins as a quest for redemption swiftly morphs into a chilling descent into obsession and paranoia.

The film’s power lies in its ability to weave a gripping narrative with essentially one on-screen presence—Sullivan. Her portrayal of the journalist, oscillating between manipulative cunning and genuine curiosity, is a masterclass in nuanced performance, reminding me of Natalie Portman’s roles in “Black Swan” and “Annihilation” but with a unique twist. Sullivan’s character is both shield and sword, battling internal and external demons in a claustrophobic setting that becomes as much a character as she is​ (comingsoon)​​ (FilmBook)​.

“Monolith” is a testament to the power of sound and silence, turning the lack of visual stimuli into a canvas for the audience’s imagination. The use of podcasting as a narrative device is not just innovative but serves as a poignant commentary on modern media consumption and the quest for truth in a post-truth world. The film challenges the viewer to listen, really listen, in a way that few visual mediums do, making it a unique blend of cinema and audio drama​ (comingsoon)​.

Despite its strengths, the film isn’t without its flaws. Some may find its pacing uneven and its climax somewhat underwhelming, desiring more exploration into the implications of its premise. Yet, even these criticisms contribute to the film’s charm, reflecting a deliberate choice to prioritize character over spectacle, introspection over exposition​ (comingsoon)​​ (UK Film Review)​.

In essence, “Monolith” is less about the mystery of the bricks themselves and more about the journey of the individual wrestling with them. It’s a journey inward, a confrontation with one’s demons, ambitions, and ultimately, one’s humanity. The film cleverly leaves more questions than it answers, allowing the ambiguity to linger long after the credits roll, much like the monoliths themselves​ (UK Film Review)​.


“Monolith” is a cerebral sci-fi thriller that demands patience but rewards it with a rich, thought-provoking experience. It’s a film that resonates with the times, exploring themes of isolation, the quest for truth, and the cost of obsession. Lily Sullivan’s performance is a beacon in the film’s minimalistic landscape, making “Monolith” a must-watch for aficionados of character-driven science fiction.

Monolith is available for viewing in limited theatrical release and on digital platforms since February 16, 2024​ (comingsoon)​.