Beast is a brilliant directorial debut from Michael Pearce. But even more impressively he wrote the story too. It is a tale of two people falling in love who are from very different backgrounds. Both are judged and oppressed by their isolated community on the island of Jersey. This may seem like a simple romantic tale, but this tense psychological thriller packs a powerful punch.
It instantly hits you that this movie is beautifully shot. It captures this small island with all its beauty whilst providing a claustrophobic feel. Plus, the score is perfectly matched to keep the tension flowing in the right direction as the film builds. Michael Pearce keeps the story focused on a relatively small group of people. However, this group is full of complex characters who are each as unlikeable as each other. As a result, the tension cuts through the whole film.
The two lead characters grapple intensely with each other displaying the passion of new love and the overwhelming issues of trust. The question is just how far would you go for the one you love? Relative newcomer Jessie Buckley gives an outstanding performance as Moll. An awkward questionable character who leaves you constantly guessing her motives.
Equally impressive is Johnny Flynn playing Pascal. With his scared face he is a believable menacing gypsy type character who seems unnervingly charming. Geraldine James gives a powerful performance playing Molls abusive Mother. However, she is a thoroughly unlikable character who it seems is widely responsible for Moll's reactionary ways.
The movie has received plenty of critical acclaim. Nominated for numerous awards, they reflects what an outstanding achievement Beast is. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, I would strongly recommend that you give Beast a look.
This is a clever piece of film making where nothing is quite what it seems or is it? Because of that, it is unsettling from start to finish leaving the audience asking who was the Beast? Or is this a portrayal of the Beast in us all?
New to Amazon at the end of 2018 and well worth a watch.