The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - — Toby Wool­las­ton


Di­rec­tor: Michael Pearce Cast: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn and Geral­dine James Run­ning time: 106 mins Cen­sor rat­ing: M — vi­o­lence, of­fen­sive lan­guage and sex scenes “You’re wounded. I can fix that.” It is a seem­ingly in­nocu­ous open­ing line from Beast, but it speaks vol­umes about the film’s two cen­tral char­ac­ters.

Moll (played by Jessie Buckley), to whom the line is di­rected, has just met the mys­te­ri­ous Pas­cal (Johnny Flynn).

His mul­ti­lay­ered com­ment clearly points to more than just the cut on her hand.

In his de­but fea­ture, writer/ di­rec­tor Michael Pearce has cre­ated

A com­plex and vividly lush thriller that sits you boltupright in your seat.

a com­plex and vividly lush thriller that sits you bolt-up­right in your seat.

It is a brood­ing char­ac­ter study that in­ves­ti­gates the hid­den mon­sters within, bor­row­ing from dark thrillers like Lady Mac­beth and wink­ing at clas­sics such as Fa­tal At­trac­tion.

A se­rial killer is on the loose in the small Bri­tish is­land com­mu­nity of Jer­sey . . . a bad time for Moll to fall in love with a mys­te­ri­ous stranger.

Moll, a shel­tered young woman, is still firmly un­der her op­pres­sive mother’s thumb (clin­i­cally played by Geral­dine James), but the al­lure of Pas­cal is too great to re­sist.

As the mur­der-mys­tery plays out in the pe­riph­ery, Beast chooses to fo­cus on cre­at­ing, then un­tan­gling, the com­plex love story of Moll and Pas­cal.

They are two flawed in­di­vid­u­als who both wres­tle with their own demons and al­though the machi­na­tions of the mur­der-mys­tery are ever-present, the film’s real mys­tery is what mo­ti­vates their re­la­tion­ship.

Beast works best in the qui­eter mo­ments of in­tro­spec­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two lovers.

The un­der­rated Jessie Buckley ( Taboo, War and Peace) is su­perb here. She drips with screen pres­ence and her nu­anced per­for­mance has Moll tee­ter­ing on the cusp of san­ity.

Also of note is cin­e­matog­ra­pher Ben­jamin Kra­cun ( Hyena), whose care­ful at­ten­tion to ev­ery shot is a spell­bind­ing feast of per­fec­tion, al­most to the point of dis­trac­tion.

It is a shame, then, that the film’s fi­nale falls a lit­tle flat and an op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish on a provoca­tively am­bigu­ous note is dis­ap­point­ingly snuffed out by Pearce’s neat and tidy end­ing.

None­the­less, Beast re­mains, for the most part, an ex­cel­lent film from a ta­lented cast and crew that are worth keep­ing an eye on.

Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn star in Beast.

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