Eye For Film >> Movies >> Beast (2022) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
It's a week of lists at the cinema. Mr Malcolm is checking of women's attributes, while Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur takes on a thriller all of his own in this safari survival flick - all the big beasts are on it, a good looking leading man, jump scares, family tension (in this case dad-and-daughter issues) and, because this is a safari film, hand-to-hand combat with an animal bent on vengeance. And while there's nothing wrong with these ingredients, although they are surely close to their sell-by date, they are used in such familiar and predictable fashion even Idris Elba's A-list qualities and Kormákur's ability to shoot a solid action scene, honed on the likes of 2 Guns and Everest, can't elevate its B-movie plotting and script.
Elba plays Dr Nate Samuels, whose medical credentials like everything else are very clearly established long before they are needed. He has come to South Africa with his teenage daughters Mere (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) in the wake of the death of the girls' mother, who was from the region - with a clear aim of healing rifts between them, not least because he was separated from their mother when she died.
They're visiting his old friend Martin (Sharlto Copley), who works as a sort of enforcer on the nature reserve, but none of them are aware that a hunt by poachers the previous night - one of the most tense scenes of the film - has left an injured male lion out for blood. When they go out in the jeep, Martin gets to cuddle a couple of lions he raised from cubs before the serious business of getting stranded - separately - with nothing but static and only one gun and a medical kit between them all kicks in.
There's some fun to be had with the action sequences when the mayhem starts but there's quite a lot that is just plain silly, not least the fact that the good old doc apparently has reactions that are quicker than a snake’s. Also, the lions have a distinctly video game look to them despite Kormákur's wise decision not to let us get too close a look at them to start with. Repeated dream sequences involving Samuels feel like a layer of cheese that sits uneasily with the red meat offered elsewhere and the ending couldn't be more signposted if it was a 6ft lion covered in neon. This is a solid popcorn move but it's just hard to get wild about it.Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2022
If you like this, try:Jaws