I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
Published September 5th 2018
Less thriller, more psychological drama— it will leave you quietly disturbed
Beast is a psychological thriller, set against a small Jersey community that is rocked by a string of brutal murders. While the murders are brutal, the real mystery and tension within this film is drawn from Moll (Jessica Buckley) and Pascal's (Johnny Flynn) intense and slightly perverse relationship.
Moll is burdened with an over-bearing and controlling mother, a father lost to dementia and siblings who are her superiors in every conceivable way. A burden to her family, Moll is sulky and compulsive and as the movie progresses we learn that an event in her teens, exposed her darker side and irrevocably altered her life. Let's face it, Moll is damaged goods. When we meet her sister, Polly, Moll's odd behaviour becomes all the clearer - really Moll and Polly, their parents were asking for trouble!
While Moll is withdrawn and odd, Pascal is mysterious and reclusive. He lives on the fringe of the community, bucking social conventions, living off the land and embracing the rugged and beautiful landscape. Once again, we learn that a poor decision in his youth has sent Pascal down this unconventional and isolating path.
When Moll and Pascal meet, the attraction is compelling - these two characters have found their match. As their relationship blossoms, the balance in their world seems to tip. As we learn about their stifling family and community, we understand their need for freedom and rebellion. However, a love affair between two odd characters, does not a thriller make. So as this relationship plays out, the murders continue in the background. While we begin to develop empathy for Moll and Pascal, we also start to wonder about their involvement in these chilling crimes. Who is the Beast ?
Beast is not a classical psychological thriller. Writer-director Michael Pearce sacrifices 'the thrill', focusing instead on an exploration of the psychology behind the aberrant behaviour. The audience, forced to explore the complexity of Moll's character, is left confronted by a beast far more disturbing than your regular American psychopath. Pearce also deviates from the standard thriller formula by injecting beautiful scenery, a love affair and a fairytale-like quality as Moll breaks free from her family and is forced to confront evil.
Beast delivers a complex psychological mystery with all the sensibility and subtlety British films are renowned for.