The Beast – REVIEW

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The Beast - Seydoux & Mackay in a multi role, multi era movie ......

Loosely based on Henry James novel ‘The Beast in the Jungle’  director Bertrand Bonello’s new film will either delight or annoy audiences.  Starring George Mackay and Lea Seydoux they both play several different roles in different stories in different eras. Think Cloud Atlas and you’ll get what sort of film this is.

Seydoux is Gabrielle who has undergone a procedure that wipes emotions from a past life where Mackay in the role of Louis was part. Those stories start in France 1904, then L.A. in 2014  and then an unspecified future date with the film frequently flitting back and fore between them but maybe it’s all part of a parallel universe the characters live. On occasion its seems wilfully obtuse but seemingly pushing towards something imminently awful about to happen.

The France 1904 story concerns a doll factory and involves a terrific sequence where their factory is flooded and their only chance of escape is to swim out of an already submerged emergency exit. But it is the 2014 chapter that is best and most disturbing with Seydoux as a model but taking a job housesitting to make ends meet whilst at the same time Mackay is an incel, struggling to contain his bubbling animosity towards the world and women in particular furiously obsessed with the idea that women ignore him and its his path that she will cross. It’s a role that Mackay is all too convincingly unnerving and deeply unsettling.

The Beast is not an easy watch due to its deliberately obtuse structuring but both actors are excellent in what is a challenging experience to untangle and fathom out a whole load of ideas and theories that have been thrown into the mix and though it is not for everyone it is a fascinating and on occasion frustrating watch.

related feature : Lea Seydoux in ‘One Fine Morning’ – REVIEW

related feature : Terry Gilliam talks to us about a Time Bandits sequel

Here’s The Beast trailer…….

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