Flynn and Buckley are as enticing as they are confusing, but it is the story that stands out most
Beast’s appeal comes from its stark individuality, its close connections, and the constant changing of how characters are perceived by each other and the audience. By doing this, director Michael Pearce has produced an unpredictable and powerful original story, transcending genre barriers, avoiding the common mistakes made by many modern day dramas.
Moll (Jessie Buckley) an audience member at her own birthday, runs away to spend the night partying alone. After meeting a boy, they stay together until the early hours, but his unwanted advances put Moll in danger. It is only when Pascal (Johnny Flynn) arrives, is Moll able to escape, and begin to form a remarkable bond with a very unpredictable young man.
It is this unpredictability that sets Beast apart. The characters and the story are particularly excellent as they build on all that has come before, without revealing any future surprises. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any foreshadowing, but it certainly means the plot is well constructed, and Flynn and Buckley do an incredibly good job of portraying their characters both fantastically and realistically, simultaneously.
The effects and script only add to the brilliance as Beast is very much a mood piece with much to say, in only a few words. It manages to pose many questions around loyalty, family and relationships, without giving clear answers and getting away with it. The ambiguous nature much of the film holds only multiplies the mystery of Moll and Pascal and helps to explain why the pair are so intrinsically drawn to each other.
Beast is incredibly accomplished for a debut feature film from Michael Pearce, with powerful cinematography, and alluring scene construction. Flynn and Buckley are as enticing as they are confusing, but it is the story that stands out most. An unpredictable piece of original drama that genuinely surprises and utterly captivates.
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