Idris Elba’s new movie is promising one very specific thing and on that it pretty much delivers.
A concentrated film that promises a certain experience and then delivers on it deserves a lot of appreciation.
Meet Beast, a movie that understands what it is and doesn’t try to complicate things; it’s a chase movie, so you get a suspenseful pursuit. It’s done.
Nate Samuels, an American doctor vacationing in South Africa with his two teenage children, is portrayed by Idris Elba in the movie Beast.
After poachers slaughtered his whole pride, the lion became furious and now views all humans as his enemies, including Nate’s captive family.
The group is travelling through the Mopani Game Reserve with their friend and fellow biologist Martin (Sharlto Copley) when they are ambushed by an unusually angry lion that has already decimated a town.
The unnaturally powerful lion follows, hunts, and assaults Nate, Meredith (Iyana Halley), Norah (Leah Sava), and Martin during the course of the following 70 minutes, which correspond to an afternoon, a night, and a morning in the film’s narrative.
That is essentially what Beast is, and there are many things to admire about its deliberate and methodical approach to narrative filmmaking.
Other storyline points include a past involving Meredith’s hatred of Nate’s absence during the illness of their now-deceased mother, as well as the emotional stakes of whether or not this family would survive both the literal and metaphorical peril.
It’s plenty to pique viewers’ interest in the characters’ fates, however it can occasionally border on annoyance because Meredith, the eldest daughter, is depicted as foolishly harbouring a grudge against her father at an inappropriate time.
Honey, maybe postpone the family therapy session until after the ferocious lion has finished attempting to cut and devour you. Additionally, avoid embarking on a valiant mission because a ferocious lion is attempting to slash and devour you.
Additionally, a real-life animal biologist may or may not have an opinion on the cautionary tale that the lion’s extreme hostility is wrapped in regarding the harm caused by poaching.
There is plenty of storyline armour where multiple interactions should have led to horrifying deaths, thus the fact that they don’t causes some skepticism-inspiring giggles. Yes, that is completely absurd and stupid. Only four characters appear, and two of them are young women. You don’t get to get rid of too many characters if you don’t start with a lot of throwaway ones.
Look, if Mick Fanning could punch a shark, what’s to stop Idris Elba from throwing a few uppercuts at a 200-kilogram monster?
Beast largely adheres to its straightforward goal. Set pieces are staged by director Baltasar Kormakur with enough suspense and jump scares to be visceral. Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot’s camera work is engaging enough to get away with lengthy scenes taking place inside a Jeep.
Beast challenges human arrogance regarding who is actually at the top of the food chain, continuing the man vs nature trend started by Jaws and Anaconda.
But it’s actually not that deep. It’s unclear if it’s working at a level above “rogue lion hunts humans, humans struggle to survive.”
But that’s okay since it’s entertaining to see Idris Elba battle a CGI lion.