Original title:Beast
Director:Baltasar Kormákur
Running time:93 minutes
Release date:19 august 2022
Dr. Nate Daniels, returns to South Africa, where he once met his late wife, to spend a long-planned vacation with his two daughters at a nature reserve run by Martin Battles, an old family friend and wildlife biologist. But this life-saving rest turns into a test of survival when a vengeful lion, the only survivor of a bloody hunt by vile poachers, begins to devour every human in its path and hunts down the doctor and his family.

Mulder's Review

Beast, the new film by director Baltasar Kormákur (Jar City (2006), The Deep (2012) 2 guns (2013), Everest (2015)) is both a true homage to the film Jaws (1975) by the confrontation of a predator and humans in the territory of the latter, but also a true survival movie in the middle of South Africa. Ryan Engle's (Rampage (2018), Breaking In (2018)) minimalist script is meant to be totally immersive and plunges viewers into an agonizing climate in which an animal decides to take revenge on humans.

While most Hollywood films tend to put a lot in the eyes of the audience, the new film by Baltasar Kormákur is similar to a B series in which actors Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, Leah Sava Jeffries, Sharlto Copley will be plunged into the middle of an animal nightmare facing a real colossus as vindictive as intelligent. After a Jaws-like opening scene showing the ferocity of a lion seeking revenge on the poachers who slaughtered his pack, the film introduces us to Dr. Nate Daniels (Idris Elba), a grieving doctor who has lost his wife and is left to care for his two teenage daughters, Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries), who is back in South Africa where he met his wife. While his vacation in paradise in the middle of a nature reserve could have been a great photo safari, Nate, his two daughters and their friend Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley) who hosted them at his home find themselves facing a lone, savage and violent lion who seems intent on exacting his revenge on all humans who cross his path. Trapped in their car, these ordinary people will have to save their lives and face this terrible predator who seems invulnerable.

Director Baltasar Kormákur is well aware that the plot of his film follows in the footsteps of one of Steven Spielberg's masterpieces and the presence of a Jurassic Park T-shirt is his way of confirming this strong influence on his film. Despite everything, he manages to infuse the film with a real dramatic tension and his film benefits from the presence of an excellent actor Idris Elba who finds here a strong role and is at the center of the film. His numerous confrontations with the lion give the film its raison d'être. The last fight shows that the film is very far from the universe of the Lion King in which the lion means a natural balance and ensures that the savannah remains a zone of tranquility. 

To bring such a film to life it is necessary to offer a mixture of real scenes but also the use of many special effects. Despite a lack of surprises and a classic storyline, Beast manages to hold our attention and stands out for its sense of timing and its undeniable effectiveness. Even if we have already seen films with this concept, this film succeeds in finding its place thanks to an inspired direction but also to a superb photography of Philippe Rousselot. By its short duration, about ninety minutes, Beast shows that director Baltasar Kormákur perfectly masters the different elements of this intense thriller in which nature finally takes the normal course of things after being shaken by a real monster reversing the natural order and making man the prey.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Screenplay by Ryan Engle
Story by Jaime Primak Sullivan
Produced by James Lopez, Will Packer, Jaime Primak Sullivan
Starring Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, Leah Sava Jeffries, Sharlto Copley
Cinematography : Philippe Rousselot
Edited by Jay Rabinowitz
Music by Steven Price
Production companies : Will Packer Productions, RVK Studios
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date : August 19, 2022 (United States), August 24, 2022 (France)
Running time : 93 minutes

Seen on August 24, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 1 seat L19

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