Beast Movie Review: Idris Elba roars in this survival drama, shows lion who’s the boss
A widower, Dr. Nate Samuels (played by Idris Elba), and his two teenage daughters Norah and Meredith (Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley) visit their family homeland in South Africa. When old family friend Martin (played by Sharlto Copley) takes them on a safari, they soon find themselves in a deadly fight for survival against a bloodthirsty lion. The gnarly lion is simply looking for revenge after poachers murdered its pride, and therefore, kills any human that comes it is the way. Idris Elba has been in a variety of films, but Beast sees him do the unusual by battling a lion. The actor flexes his muscles in this run-of-the-mill, yet entertaining, survival thriller. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Beast doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It has enough jump scares, action, and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seats. However, the overall execution could have taken more risks.
The story is gripping for sure. Nate, Norah, and Meredith go on one of those journeys that turn into an extended, dreary family-therapy session. Nate’s estranged wife has recently died, and he and the girls are in mourning. So, they fly to her home country, South Africa, for restorative healing or something. In a safari gone wrong from the start, a string of dead bodies accompanied by lion tracks tell that not only is a man-eating lion on the loose, but he isn’t interested in eating at all. He wants revenge on those who killed his pride.
Watch the trailer of Beast here:-
To be fair to the lion, he is not wrong to be pissed off. The poachers killed his whole family, and now he wants to kill all humans in his sight. You may even want to root for the lion instead of Nate because its motives are quite clear and perhaps even justified. Screaming and running through the scenery without cell service, Nate and his family are being chased by this very big, very angry lion. Stuck with nowhere to go, they must find a way to survive! Idris fights the ferocious creature single-handedly without using a weapon. And that gets the adrenaline rushing. In between attacks, roars, screams, and blood, you won’t be able to take your eyes off Idris. He really does straight-up punch a lion in the face!
But, Beast is more than that. Three cheers to the writers – Ryan Engle (Rampage, The Commuter) and Jaime Primak Sullivan for writing a script that is heavy with heartache. You see, it’s not really about a killer lion, it’s also about a grieving man trying to reconnect with his angry, confused and also grieving kids. Beast brings personal conflict to the table.
The film’s action sequences are staged well, though it remains a by-the-book survival thriller most of the time. It is filled with jump scares and suspense that builds intensity. In one of the scenes, Nate and Norah search for medical supplies, rummaging through cabinets and drawers. They continuously pass by the front door that they left open behind them. As light shines through it, the suspense keeps building because it seems as though the lion could come through those very doors at any moment. The scene goes on long enough that audiences will watch with bated breath. In fact, Beast is littered with such moments.
Beast awards Idris Elba with ample screen time to show us why he deserves more of it. He delivers a very passionate performance in the film and his rapport with his on-screen daughters is solid overall. Even Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley deliver exceptional performances.
The movie is relatively short, as far as contemporary Hollywood action flicks go, which will keep you hooked. The plot sails along pretty much exactly as you might expect. It has a few surprises and a rather unexpected ending. Overall, Beast is uncomplicatedly fun and engaging.