If you’re a lion, the world is an unjust place. Even if they murder your entire family and you decide to go John Wick on them, Idris Elba still gets to be the hero? You’re portrayed as the violent monster on a rampage, while the gun-toting Keanu Reeves in his sleek black suit gets a successful sequel? Not fair.
All joking aside, the chances of a sequel to Beast appear to be slim. Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur’s film is a typical survivalist thriller that leans heavily on the dread of jump scares to create a false feeling of pleasure. It vanishes as soon as you laugh at yourself for falling for it. The writing is sloppy, with characters doing idiotic things that no one in their right mind would do – even without a lion on the hunt – merely to drive the narrative along and get to all the roaring and slicing.
The second half features better writing and more realistic action. The film is largely shot during the day, making the movement and action easier to follow. The nighttime sequences at the beginning and conclusion are occasionally lighted up with artificial light in the middle of the jungle (which I still believe was a studio setup), giving it a manufactured, surreal air.
Idris Elba performs an adequate job in the action moments, kicking the lion in the face or giving his best Dwayne Johnson imitation. The self-deprecating wife was fridged’ segments, on the other hand, were difficult to sit through.
However, if you are short on alternatives and have already seen Nope, Beast may be your only option in theatres this week. It takes around 1.5 hours of your time and is simple, jumpy, and melodramatic. Nope would be watched again by me.