Movie Review: Beast

One of the best things to have happened to this movie was the hype generated from Idris Elba’s The Breakfast Club interview. While the interview with Will Packer and Idris Elba centered on different subjects, one of the highlights was Elba’s comments on why his real-life daughter didn’t get the role to play his daughter in the movie.

Although social media received the comments with mixed reactions, it helped increase the movie’s hype. And so, when the movie was released on August 12, 2022, more people were eager to see what the movie was all about.

Who stars in the movie?

Idris Elba takes the lead role as Dr. Nate Samuels. Elba’s two daughters, Meredith Samuels and Norah Samuels, are played by Iyana Halley and Leah Sava Jeffries, respectively. Sharlto Copley plays the role of uncle Martin Battles, a friend to the Samuels’ family and a wildlife biologist. The movie was directed by Baltasar Kormákur.

What’s the movie about?

Beast

credit: Beast

In the Beast, Dr. Nate Samuels journeys to South Africa with his two daughters, Meredith and Norah. The doctor is not only recently a widow, but he also has an estranged relationship with his oldest daughter over the separation and death of their mother. So Dr. Nate Samuels brings his daughters back to Africa (the birthplace of his late wife) to reconnect with them.

The movie begins with the family getting picked up by their friend Martin, a wildlife biologist. As part of a tour through the Mopani Reserve, Martin, Dr. Nate, and his daughters soon discover that most of the population of a Tsonga community is dead. Driving away to find a better network connection to send a message to other tour guides, they come across a man who seemed to have survived the attack on the community.

The movie begins with an encounter with the “beast”—a lone vengeful lion who lost his pride to poachers. Next, the movie sees the doctor trying to save his friend and daughters by escaping the lion’s territory.

Into the world of wildlife poaching

Beast

credit: Beast

If we strip the movie in halves, it’s easy to see the devastating effect of wildlife poaching on animals. In one of his interviews about the movie, Elba stated that the storyline was intentional not to make the lion the villain.

Although the lion’s vengefulness may have been over-projected in the movie, it showed that animals are also subject to the feeling of loss. The movie was a subtle reminder of the fight against wildlife poaching.

An unrealistic storyline?

Beast

credit: Beast

Even biopics get additions to help make them an exciting piece of work. So, we can’t fault Hollywood for taking fiction beyond the normal. Since its release, Beast has been met with mixed ratings but has hovered around mid-ratings so far. And for good reasons, especially with some parts of the storyline.

If the name of the movie wasn’t enough setup for some form of thriller and horror, the first encounter with the “beast” was terrifying. Yet, throughout the movie, the protagonist and his daughters seem to forget they are in the territory of a vengeful, ferocious lion. It seemed as though only Martin understood what they were up against.

Mae, his eldest daughter, seemed to have casually taken a stroll to find uncle Martin with a lion still actively trying to attack their truck. Then, Dr. Nate ventures into the night to find the truck’s key with the “poacher wearing a yellow shirt.” Right in the middle of the lion tearing these poachers to pieces.

At a point, the lion seems to know his natural enemies—the poachers that killed his pride—then suddenly develops amnesia.

Idris Elba gets to fight a lion

Beast

credit: Beast.

Undoubtedly, Idris Elba is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. We have seen him pull off different characters and fight different opponents. Lions must have been on his “to fight,” and we’re glad he could tick it off with this movie.

In a bid to save his daughters, Elba’s character decides to lure the lion into the territory of another lion’s pride. It looked like a smart move if we ignored that he somehow managed to outrun the lion from the abandoned schoolhouse into the territory of another lion’s pride.

Elba’s character goes face-to-face with the Beast. With just a pocket knife, he tries to fight off and kill the lion. While a few stabs couldn’t get the lion to back off, Dr. Nate is saved by the other lions who come in to kill the Beast for entering their territory (or maybe got bored watching Dr. Nate trying to get himself killed). Like the aftermath of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character encounter with the bear in 2015 The Revenant, Dr. Nate is badly mauled.

Have you watched the movie? What are your thoughts?

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