Michael Pearce’s spellbinding debut feature, Beast, captures the audience’s attention from beginning to end. This riveting, intense, unsettling and surprisingly funny film consistently challenges the viewer’s perception of the charismatic and suspicious protagonists, Moll (Jessie Buckley) and Pascal (Johnny Flynn).
These kooky kindred spirits are drawn together by an undeniably steamy magnetism. Moll and Pascal are edgy outsiders who find solace and understanding in each other. They embark on a torrid love affair that is frowned upon by Moll’s judgemental and entitled family and friends. Despite their warnings, she just can’t pry herself away from him. Even when he becomes the prime suspect in a criminal investigation that has rattled their quaint island of Jersey.
Tensions increasingly run high as the authorities and community condemn Pascal and grow skeptical of Moll for staying by his side. He shows such tenderness, passion, and affection for Moll. Could he really be a brutal serial rapist and killer who savagely preys on young innocent women?
“…a psychological crime thriller masked by a sweeping and scandalous romance.”
The brilliance of Beast lies in the compelling nature of Pearce’s storytelling. This is a psychological crime thriller masked by a sweeping and scandalous romance. The fear of murder lingers in the air, yet doesn’t assume all of the focus. The audience is mesmerized by Pascal and Moll. We remain perplexed by these mysteriously tortured souls, yet we root for their unconventional romance to prevail in the face of naysayers.
Buckley and Flynn’s chemistry is as wild and fiery as her crimson hair. Their alluring and visceral performances ignite the screen, further elevating Pearce’s masterful narrative. Viewers teeter on the edge of their seats, search for clues and constantly question what think they know about all of these characters.
You will leave this film feeling breathless, stunned and incredibly satisfied.
Beast (2017) Written and Directed by Michael Pearce. Starring Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Trystan Gravelle. Beast is screening as part of the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival.
4.5 out of 5 stars