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beast

★★★

starring: idris elba, sharlto copley, leah jeffries, and iyana halley

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.

Recently widowed Dr. Nate Daniels and his two teenage daughters travel to a South African game reserve managed by Martin Battles, an old family friend and wildlife biologist. However, what begins as a journey of healing soon turns into a fearsome fight for survival when a lion, a survivor of bloodthirsty poachers, begins stalking them.

 

Beast sees the return of the creature feature to the silver screen, a mid budget flick with a raging, roaring, dangerous beast at the centre of all the action. For those who bemoan the lack of original films hitting the multiplex (if they paid a little more attention they’d discover that there are more than tentpole franchise films released regularly), Beast is a welcome release. 

 

The story is fairly simple if not a lean one at a tad over 90 minutes running time. Any more and Beast would have been overstuffed with the shorter run time allowing for enough character development and audience connection with those characters. Again, the main characters of Dr. Nate and his daughters are fairly stereotypical but the actors playing them bring a real life to them.

 

The CGI lion is flawless with you left with the sense that this truly is a living, breathing creature roaming the wilderness, inflicting destruction on every human he comes into contact with. There are more than a few jump scares with director Kormákur masterfully ratcheting up the tension.

 

Beast also tackles some pertinent themes around co-existing with nature and humanity's obligation to work harder at their part in that relationship, protecting wildlife and allowing it to flourish. 

 

Idris Elba is magnificent here, with charisma effortlessly oozing from the screen and another reminder, as if we really needed any, that this guy really is leading man material. Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley are superb as Dr. Nate’s daughters Norah and Meredith and it's a very welcome return to the big screen for Sharlto Copley.

 

Beast is a rip roaring action packed creature feature led effortlessly by Idris Elba.

★★★