Written and Directed By: Michael Pearce
Starring: Jessie Buckley Johnny Flynn Trystan Gravelle and Geraldine James
Run Time: 1h 47min
3 ½ Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
There’s a course tone running through ‘Beast’ that you can’t turn away from. It’s intriguing from the get-go as you look over the beautiful yet blustery and chilly island that is the home of our players in the drama. For his feature debut, television director, Michael Pearce, brings to life the story of a young woman yearning to be free of her mother and her rules by any means necessary, even if it means accepting the heart of a possible serial killer. There’s something alluring about a bad boy and, as most films do, Pearce and company take advantage of this. What will the characters learn from one another and how will it be different… if this is possible? Moll (Buckley) is frustrated that her family puts her last, even on her birthday, and hooks up with a mysterious stranger who sees her, touches her and stands up for her when she is having trouble breaking free of another man’s unwelcome advances.
Pascal (Flynn) wiggles his way into Moll’s heart by deeply, almost hypnotically staring into her eyes, penetrating the very core of her, something she’s clearly unfamiliar with. He approaches her slowly and lets her know he’ll accept her for who she is no matter who he might find.
Pascal isn’t the most hygienic of people, something her mother immediately disapproves of. Being used as babysitter for her niece and caregiver to her ill father, it’s time for Moll to fight for a little independence which she does. She invites him for dinner. During dinner, they discuss the murders of young girls that have been happening in the area. It’s not hard to tell at this point who the film is suggesting the murderer is. Pascal hunts rabbits and though you’re sure of who the killer is, it’s in a scene where they go hunting together that the line betweem the two quite solidly blurs.
He’s told that Moll has been labeled the ‘wild one’ so he inquires as to exactly why. She confesses to him that she stabbed a student with scissors who had bullied her when she was in school and after had to be homeschooled. She has held onto the pain and stigma that came along with the incident ever since. His advice to her is to stop carrying the weight of her action and to move on. This releases her of a decade of guilt and shame and as her relationships with family members strain, she feels closer to him than she ever has to anyone.
Feeling compelled to help the community in some way, she joins volunteers to sweep for the body of the killers next victim. Similar to the guidance she was given by Pascal, this action helps cleanse her and we see that Moll begins to find her own identity. She has a choice, a voice and feels much freer. Ignoring signs of who he might be when the police come calling, she’s reluctant to speak to them. When they inquire as to both his and her whereabouts on a certain night, she’s headstrong and refuses to speak with them further. The people in town know she can finger him and her noncompliance sets off a chain reaction of overwhelming disgust toward her that she can’t escape no matter where she turns.
Why won’t she help with the investigation? Who is she? Who is Pascal? What happens next? Watch it to find out! Outside of a few times when the accents are too thick to understand and a poor bunny getting massacred, (Seriously, if you love animals, turn away!) ‘Beast’ is exhilarating and quite clever. Its pacing fits the storyline and on occasion, you’ll wonder if you’re not watching a horror film rather than a drama. If Intense and Well Done is your idea of entertainment, see it at a theatre near you this weekend.
In Phoenix, see this at Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square!!!