Deep in the bush of the African wilderness, an American family seeks to reconnect with familial roots to move forward after a devastating loss. Their vacation quickly turns into a nightmare, when they stumble upon a rogue lion out for revenge after its pride was gunned down by poachers. Injured and trapped in a broken down vehicle with no where to go, they must work together if they are to survive another day.
BEAST (2022) starring Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley, is an action thriller that attempts to pull at your heartstrings while keeping you at the edge of your seat with tense, gripping frights. Over the top melodrama between the main characters, hinders the success of the overall experience, but for me, did not completely ruin the film. I fully expected this story to fall flat on all fronts, but I was surprisingly glued to the action and at the edge of my seat almost the entire time. This is not to say it is a good film by any means, but for what it sets out to do, I feel like it is successful in a lot of ways.
We’ve seen this similar style of movie so many times before, characters trapped in a situation, hunted by a primal force, where they have to outsmart the predator if they want to survive. At its core, BEAST (2022) is exactly what I want to see out of a film from this genre. It’s entertaining, with non-stop suspense, and truly delivers a lot of crafted nuances that enhance the experience. The director succeeds at making sure the audience feels like they are trapped in this situation with the characters on screen. By taking their time to map out character movements throughout the space with long POV shots, you feel like a member of the group. The cinematography choices in this film provide a full scope of the environment, and enhance the choices the characters make and at certain points makes you want to yell at the screen to warn the protagonists of their mistakes. At my screening there were a lot of sighs and screams from the audience pleading with the characters to make smarter decisions, which to me, highlighted how engaged everyone was, eating up what the director was serving on a silver platter.
There’s not a whole lot about this film to discuss further than what it provides at the surface level. If you want some dumb fun, seeing Idris Elba bare knuckle fight a lion to save his family, then that is exactly what you will get. Once you get past the first 10 minutes of melodramatic exposition, the film picks up and doesn’t stop pushing forward until the credits roll. This is a perfect film to see in a theater with some friends, and the experience of seeing this on a big screen is worth your time.