film re­view

NOW Magazine - - MOVIES -

beast (Michael Pearce) is a watch­able if over­heated thriller about a dam­aged young woman (Jessie Buck­ley) who finds her­self drawn to a sim­i­larly dam­aged young man (Johnny Flynn) as their com­mu­nity is gripped by a string of mur­ders. Mak­ing his fea­ture debut, writer/direc­tor Pearce tries to el­e­vate a very fa­mil­iar plot with an un­der­cur­rent of feral sex­u­al­ity and an op­pres­sive mood of men­ace, and it works well enough for a while. The Chan­nel Is­lands set­ting is just un­fa­mil­iar enough to set Beast apart from all the BBC se­ries it re­sem­bles, and Buck­ley is a fas­ci­nat­ing screen pres­ence, with­hold­ing just enough from the cam­era to draw us in ever closer. (Flynn is con­sid­er­ably less in­ter­est­ing – though that’s mostly the fault of the film’s who­dunit as­pect, which re­quires every male char­ac­ter to re­veal a streak of vague men­ace.) It’s not a bad movie, re­ally, but it’s pre­cisely the sort of mid­dling genre ex­er­cise with which we are cul­tur­ally over­sat­u­rated at the mo­ment … and Pearce doesn’t do any­thing that makes Beast stand out from the pack. 107 min. NNN (Nor­man Wilner)

Jessie Buck­ley and Johnny Flynn bring out the Beast within.

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