Beast: Movie Review

Beast Movie Review: Dumbed Down to Decent

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The recent "Prey" film proves that a raw and straight-forward survival thriller is one hell of a ride when done right and we cannot help but compare "Beast" with that film. On some aspects, both are similar especially when it comes to "being in there" with an unrelenting force of nature. Both films delivers an in-your-face and thrilling experience. But where "Beast" heavily deviates from the excellent "Prey" was its writing. Simply put, characters in "Beast" frustrated us a lot especially with the questionable and hasty decisions they make throughout the film's runtime. It had this artificial feeling that we couldn't shake off - elements that were deisgned to ramp up the thrill in the expense of its story and characters.
Dr. Nate Daniels (Idris Elba) met his wife in South Africa and both moved on to build a life in the US until her death. Left with two daughters, Dr. Nate decides to bring his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) back to Africa to honor their mother and fix their broken relationships with each other. Welcoming them is long-time friend and reserve manager Martin (Sharlto Copley) who protects the reserve's wildlife from poachers. Everything is going as anticipated until they encounter a huge lion who begins to attack any human that it gets near it - which includes Dr. Nate’s family. Trapped, Nate has to find a way to survive for the sake of his girls.
At its best moments, "Beast" was undoubtedly a thrilling experience. Idris Elba versus a lion sounds awesome on paper and it definitely is awesome (and more) on the big screen. In fact, Idris Elba salvages this film from being a complete bore. His performance was surprisingly nuanced against the fact that "Beast" gave little time to fully flesh out its characters. To a fault, "Beast" couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Was it a raw survival thriller or a deep and emotional family drama? These two aspects had a huge tug of war that failed to amount to anything and we wished "Beast" just focus on being the former. At least the film was just 90 minutes long. While it wasn't paced well, "Beast" was short enough to never overstay its welcome. Coupled with great cinematography, action sequences was able to give us tense-filled and intense moments time and time again. There are definitely more impactful survival thriller films as compared to "Beast" but we won't deny that at the heat of the moment, it was a decent thrill ride albeit a forgettable one.  
Rating: 3 reels

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