The film “Beast,” directed by Baltasar Kormákur, is superior to the majority of films that are released in the middle of August.
In a little under ninety minutes, it brings to life the concept of a wild animal that has gone rogue. Philippe Rousselot, a seasoned cameraman, captures some breathtaking images of the natural landscape of South Africa.
There is a powerful adversary who appears to be all-knowing and indestructible, not to mention zealously vindictive.
Idris Elba does indeed have a moment in the film that is identical to the one shown in the trailer, in which he punches a lion in the face.
Because the current MGM logo is an odd-looking CGI interpretation of a lion, it is easy to imagine Leo the Lion rolling his eyes in disbelief. This is because, like the monster in this movie, the logo is an interpretation of a lion that was created using computer graphics.
When we talk about logos, we should mention that this is yet another film that would have benefited from having the worn-out Universal logo from the 1970s appear at the beginning of the film.
In the past, it served as a signal to the audience that they were about to witness some humorous and cheesy mayhem.
The movie “Beast” contains a lot of it; the vicious lion can eliminate an entire bunch of guys armed with AR-15s while still managing to jump on top of cars and reach into windows to swat at human prey.
Since the huge cat in question isn’t given a name in the script that Ryan Engle wrote, we’ll refer to him as Rory.
Because Rory is probably furious that poachers killed his entire pride, he has made it his duty to kill any human he comes into contact with, and he does it with an extraordinary level of prejudice.
Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), referring to the aggressive behaviour exhibited by lions in response to a threat to their pride, says, “It’s the law of the jungle.” “And that is the only legislation that is enforced in this area,” the speaker continued.
“Around here” refers to South Africa, the country in which Martin and the ex-wife of Dr Nate Samuels (played by Idris Elba) spent their childhoods.
He was the one who brought them together, and the subsequent marriage resulted in the birth of two daughters: Norah (Leah Jeffries), and their eldest, Meredith (Iyana Halley).
Meredith followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a photographer. Tragically, Nate’s ex-girlfriend passed away from cancer after the couple had separated; this caused Meredith to feel as though her father had abandoned the family and caused her an angry barrier between them.
Dr Nate is attempting to mend his relationship with his girls by bringing them on a trip to the woods to visit the places where their mother used to spend time.
When Norah discovers that there is neither cellular phone coverage nor Wi-Fi out in the middle of nowhere, she exclaims, “This is so back in the day.”
After a brief glimpse of Rory carrying out the first of many assaults, “Beast” begins with the aforementioned poachers gunning down a pride of lions.
This is followed by another brief glimpse of Rory carrying out an attack. As the movie goes on, we will see his handiwork in greater gory detail, at first on the body of a wounded guy who pulls over Martin’s Jeep in an attempt to get assistance. (He frequently refers to Rory as “the Devil.”)
When Martin travels to a neighbouring town in search of assistance, he is horrified to find the community riddled with disfigured remains. Martin explains to Dr Nate that lions do not behave in this manner.
After provoking the Samuels to crash their Jeep when they were being attacked by the lion, Rory decides to demonstrate his point by trapping the Samuels inside their vehicle. This lion has obviously watched the movie “Cujo.”
From this vantage point, “Beast” is all about Dr Nate doing whatever it takes to protect his girls from harm. The mission is a little more difficult than one may anticipate given that there were moments when it appeared as though Norah and Meredith were unknowingly working together with their attacker.
Indeed, characters in horror films frequently engage in illogical behaviour on purpose to provoke audience participation, but this takes things to an absurd level.
They disobey Nate every time he urges them to remain seated in the vehicle. They leave at the most inconvenient times, even though they are fully aware that Rory is lurking about somewhere passing the time.
When their father is desperately attempting to sneak away from his adversary in silence, his children start honking the jeep’s horn and trying to communicate with him over a walkie-talkie.
Even though Jeffries and Halley do a good job of conveying terror and heroism (one sequence of retribution against their enemy is a clear crowd-pleaser), the writing frequently reduces them to tiresome antics to generate suspense.
It is important to note that “Beast” and the more contemporary and vastly superior picture “Prey” both feature messages about hunters wreaking havoc on the animal kingdom and having to pay a high price for their actions.
In addition, they both look at the relationship between siblings and convey the idea that one’s family should be one’s top priority when it comes to ensuring one’s own survival.
Although a larger amount of suspension of disbelief is required for this film than for the other, the fight that serves as the film’s climax boils down to the protagonist making use of what they know about both their environment and their adversary.
My expectation was that the music from “Rocky” composed by Bill Conti would start playing when Dr Nate did the mano-a-paws move with Rory for the final time.
If Idris Elba can demonstrate on screen that he is capable of wrestling lions, there should be no further debate regarding his qualifications to be James Bond.
This will play better with an audience of raucous fans of genre films, the kind of group that used to throng the grindhouses of Times Square and the second-run theatres in smaller towns.
My guess is that people want to have their attention diverted by anything that compels them to rise up and applaud. The word “beast” accomplishes that goal adequately.
Kormákur enjoys playing mind games with his audience by populating the background scenes of his films with sinister entities that may or may not be Rory the Lion.
Both Elba and Copley play their characters with a degree of sincerity that allows them to be believable without compromising their awareness of the genre of film they are directing.
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Because I was unable to get past the aforementioned screenplay difficulties and the fact that there are some strange, absolutely out-of-place dream scenes with Dr Nate’s ex that seem like outtakes from Beyonce’s “Black is King,” I can only recommend “Beast” with considerable reservation.
Having said that, you should absolutely see this movie if it piques your interest in any way. It doesn’t go on for too long, and the conclusion is surprising in how sudden it is while yet being pleasant.
At the very least, “Beast” provides the first illustration that I’ve seen of a theory that I’ll refer to as “Chekhov’s Lion.” When you see it, you’ll understand what I mean.