Sunday, September 2, 2018
Video review: "Beast"
Most actors employ a lot of tricks, but I couldn’t spot any of Jessica Buckley’s in “Beast.” In this revelatory performance, she plays a severely oppressed young woman living under the thumb of family and community expectations who finds a way to break free through a romance with a local undesirable.
Moll lives on a lovely British island, working as a bus guide for tourists. Her older siblings are already married and started families, and it’s not hard to see that her mother (Geraldine James) views her as the disappointment of the family. As the story opens Moll is attending a birthday party, which turns out to be her own, but she’s treated morse as the servant than the guest of honor.
She has a chance encouter with Pascal (Johnny Flynn), an unnerving fellow who spends his days at odd jobs and poaching. They fall into an uneasy romance, which is bothersome to most everyone Moll knows, which is the main thrust of the appeal.
But when local girls start turning up strangled, Pascal becomes the chief suspect. Moll defends him but harbors her own doubts. Her mind starts to fracture, resulting in terrible visions in which she herself is a perpetrator.
It’s an audacious feature film debut for writer/director Michael Pearce, who along with Buckley draws an intimate, unsettling portrait of a young woman who’s been a target all her life. Finally given a chance to express herself, she finds that freedom can become its own prison.
Video extras are unfortunately rather modest. They consist of a gallery of photo stills from the production and a making-of documentary short.