Beast opens with local tour guide Moll (Jessie Buckley) meeting Pascal (Johnny Flynn) on a late night after a disastrous birthday in her very small town in Jersey, which saw her family take more interest in her sister than in her own anniversarial issues.
He’s scruffy and wears muddy boots inside the house (not on MY carpets!) and she loves his ‘bad boy’ persona. Conversely, most of her family can’t stand him. Meanwhile, there’s a killer on the loose. It would be too obvious to assume he’s the baddie, though? Or is it?
Flynn is suitably smarmy towards Moll’s mother, Hilary (Geraldine James). However, while we soon learn he’s into shooting rabbits in the forest, we could do without some of the graphic violence relating to that. Given how the BBFC are hot on animal cruelty, obviously, it won’t be a real rabbit that’s been shot, but given what’s shown it’s still unpleasant an unnecessary.
On the plus side, Beast opens with a glorious opening choir, followed by an engaging score which boosts many scenes, whether it’s background atmospherics, or heightening a characters situation in a very tense moment.
On the downside, there’s an age-old trope about an individual in authority being too familiar with a lead character and turning up insituations where they really shouldn’t.
Overall, there’s two good leads, here, but the story rather meanders in the second half, and while I wasn’t sure where it was going until the film told me, I couldn’t recommend this as a first choice for an evening’s viewing.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and the image is pin-sharp, as you’d expect for a modern movie, bringing the Jersey locations to life.
The audio is in DTS 5.1 HD-MA, and it’s mostly a combination of dialogue and the aforementioned great score.
The extras are as follows:
- Film4 Interview (9:46): A short but simple piece with Jessie Buckley and director Michael Pearce.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Audio commentary: with Ms Buckley and Mr Pearce.
The menu features clips from the film set to a haunting piece of the score. There are a bog-standard 12 chapters, and subtitles are in English only.
Running time: 107 minutes
Cat no.: SPALBD155
Distributor: Altitude Film Distribution
Released: August 20th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Michael Pearce
Producers: Kristian Brodie, Lauren Dark and Ivana MacKinnon
Screenplay: Michael Pearce
Music: Jim Williams
Moll: Jessie Buckley
Pascal Renouf: Johnny Flynn
Hilary Huntington: Geraldine James
Harrison: Oliver Maltman
Jade: Hattie Gotobed
Leigh Dutot: Charley Palmer Rothwell
Tamara: Emily Taaffe
Polly: Shannon Tarbet
Clifford: Trystan Gravelle
Theresa Kelly: Olwen Fouere
Fletcher: Tim Woodward
News Reporter: Richard Laing
Sophie: Joanna Croll
News Reporter: Claire Rafferty
Stuart: Barry Aird
Funeral attendee: Ekran Mustafa
Rita: Maria de Lima
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.