beast

DIRECTOR: Michael Pearce (debut)
STARRING: jessie buckley, johnny flynn, geraldine james, and olwen fouere

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★★

In a small island community, a troubled young woman falls for a mysterious outsider who empowers her to escape her oppressive family. When he comes under suspicion for a series of murders, she defends him at all costs.

There are some movies that haunt you for days. Beast is one of those films.  

To say that Moll lives in a small island community is a stretch of the truth. Moll merely exists; oppressed by her control freak of a mother and her responsibilities to her family. When Pascal, a rugged handsome outsider, rescues her from a dire situation, love blossoms. But when a young girl is found murdered, Pascal becomes a suspect in that murder and in a string of similar unsolved ones. Then the physiological games begin. 

To think that this is Michael Pearce's cinematic directorial debut is mind blowing. The craft which he applies to Beast is nothing short of mesmerising. The story is taut, visceral and twisting and you keep second guessing your theories of who the killer really is right to the end. 

Pearce also plays with perceptions throughout with the quaint English countryside and bunting draped fetes set as a stark sunlit contrast with the horrors that unfold. Benjamin Kracun's beautiful cinematography greatly aides Pearce in all of his story telling endeavours. 

While the cast is superb from the mysterious Pascal played wonderfully by Johnny Flynn or Geraldine James' fantastic portrayal of Moll's domineering mother, Beast belongs completely to Jessie Buckley. Her performance as the repressed, brow beaten, broken yet defiant Moll is a revelation. Its completely haunting and one of the best I've seen this year. 

A taut, visceral, twisting beautifully shot tale that will have you second guessing at every turn. Jessie Buckley is a revelation.

★★★★

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