In this psychological thriller, a young woman finds herself pulled between the control of her oppressive family and the allure of a mysterious outsider who empowers her to escape them. But when he comes under suspicion for a series of brutal murders, she defends him at all costs and learns what she is capable of.
- Michael Pearce(feature debut)
Rating: M Violence, offensive language & sex scenes
Beast is ostensibly a serial killer movie. But much like Amy Adams’ HBO series Sharp Objects, that aspect of the story plays out in the background, allowing director Michael Pearce to hone in on his main character and find out what makes her tick.
Moll is a lonely young woman with a dark secret. A compelling lead, if a little familiar, and it’s to the film’s credit that following her proves more compelling than the murder mystery. The fairy tale allusions are there if you want them, but the meat of the drama comes from watching Moll interact with her family (lead by a reliably acidic Geraldine James) and her new lover Pascal.
He’s the character with a huge question mark over him, Johnny Flynn playing the mystery man somewhere between dangerous and charming. Again, not the most original character, but these archetypes are evergreen for a reason.
He’s a rugged, man of the land type, and the film feels that way too. It’s not afraid to be murky, or portray the island community of Jersey as bleakly as possible. As the movie progresses it’s less clear if Moll is unhinged or if she’s the natural product of her surroundings.
There are some twists and turns near the end, but Beast is primarily a character study, and that’s ultimately what hamstrings it slightly. As interesting as Moll is, she’s in need of more story. The movie treads a fine line, periodically causing the audience to shift its alliances, but that’s not quite interesting enough to sustain itself.
It’s compelling, and admirably avoids genre trappings, but while Beast occasionally seems poised to become something truly great, it never quite gets there.
The Guardian (UK)
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Little White Lies
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)
I'm surprised a film this good has so few screenings.
Who is the Beast?
This was an interesting movie. I can usually guess the endings, I couldn't in this one. Don't worry, no spoilers. The story meandered along with glimpses into the personalities of the characters, snippets of what had happened in the past which may or may not explain behaviours in the present. It's bleak, dark and melancholy. Definitly worth a watch.
Still processing it, tbh
Beast is a beautifully shot film with an amazing performance from both its leads. It's not the 'thriller' it's made out to be (not a bad thing) – it's an intense journey through relationships with a few jumpy moments. You'll have to draw your own conclusions – when you've watched, I recommend reading through the reddit thread!
entertaining, slightly odd film
The main two protagonists are brilliant, drawing you in to their intense web. Some great supporting characters in particular the horrifically awful mother. Multiple twists and turns. I don't want to say too much about the plot in case I spoil it. Just go see it
Tense atmospheric drama
A great little thriller.
A gritty love story between a troubled young girl and a mysterious island local with a secret past, set against a background of serial murder, secrets and mistrust.
I enjoyed this story and was pleasantly surprised that it don't pan out the way I thought it would.
Kept me guessing all the way through.
A nice change from the usual big budget effects driven films I have been watching lately.
Sex and Death
Not a murder mystery, and not a horror. But rather a close look at the emotional turmoil surrounding first love and leaving home... with a focus on the disconcerting emotional mess that is associated with sexuality and never really knowing your partner (or yourself).
Midsomer Murders loses the plot - SPOILERS!
Starts off well with some interesting pointers of things to come but never really delivers on any of them. Family acts a bit dark and dysfunctional - what darkness lies beneath, I wonder? None - mum's just a domineering cow. We start off liking Moll but turns out she's hiding a (not especially) dark secret that causes her to protect and later forgive a serial killer because she attacked someone with scissors when she was a young teen or something. Her serial killer love interest is a bit too vacuous to care about, as well as being a bit of a dick and everyone rightly thinks the worst of him. In essence, the lead characters are poorly rounded and Moll's development in particular seems disjointed and unreal. She does nothing to warrant the finale.
The subplot of murders going back years is handled badly with the police coming across as totally inept and unprofessional. The lack of character depth to the lead characters meant I'd stopped caring which one of them it was - and you knew it was going to be one of them. The only surprising aspect was that it turned out to be the one everyone thought it was to begin with. Midsomer Murders wouldn't have allowed that! The final plot twist was a bit of a surprise in a yeah nah sort of way but was basically an unnecessary blood splatter just to round things off.
Cinematically beautiful and chilling
It was absolutely beautifully shot, at times combining the freedom of the ocean with the claustrophobia of drowning.
The acting was great throughout the cast, so many subtleties that had you questioning, wondering, trying to figure out. A movie that keeps you wondering long after you have left the cinema and well worth the watch.
While it felt like it could have ended at a few different points, it still kept you guessing at many all the turns, and the realisation that trying to figure out yourself is one thing, figuring out the people in your life is whole 'nother story.
Atmospheric and moody
A bit melodramatic in parts and it kind of overstays its welcome but it excels in mood and atmosphere which is boosted by a ferocious score. Well performed, with interesting characters. Kind of frustratingly but also cooly (is that a word?) open ended in a way. If Flicks allowed half stars, I would give it half a star more.
Gloom and beauty
Film weighs on you during and long after. Everyone seems so full of sadness, repression and regret. Powerful film. Spectacular scenery.