The beast gave me exactly what I was hoping for: Idris Elba fighting a lion. The movie also gave me something I didn’t expect, it’s a story centered around family healing after loss. It’s something everyone can relate to and you instantly connect with the Samuels family and what they’re going through. It also features great performances from the four main actors, who I loved being at the center of the film. If you like movies like Jaws and this year Nopeyou will definitely enjoy The beast as well.
This review will contain slight spoilers for The beastso you have been warned!
Idris Elba is our main character as Dr. Nate Samuels, who comes to terms with the loss of his wife to cancer. She was from South Africa, so Nate decides to take his two teenage daughters, Meredith and Norah, to visit the place where their mother grew up. He arranges for them to stay with their uncle Martin (Sharlto Copley) who works to help protect the wildlife of the African savannah. Martin takes them for a ride in the savannah, but once they reach a local village that has been attacked by a rogue lion, it’s a fight for survival.
Idris Elba is as reliable as Dr. Nate Samuels; he deals with the loss of his wife while seeing her so much in his teenage daughters. He gives a great performance and has great chemistry with Iyana Halley (Meredith) and Leah Jeffries (Norah). They’re very believable as a family, and Halley and Jeffries are especially believable as teenage sisters, complete with bickering and banter. Samuels would and does anything to protect his daughters and Elba makes that clear through her performance.
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Sharlto Copley also gives a great performance as Martin, a longtime friend of Nate’s who helps guide the Samuels through the savannah. It was a perfect cast since Copley is from Johannesburg, South Africa, so it was authentic on screen. Copley is also a terrific and underrated actor in my opinion, so it’s nice to see him back on the big screen.
The thing I liked the most about the movie was the runtime; The beast is 90 minutes and it doesn’t drag like some 90 minute movies can. You get the backstory you need for the Samuels and Martin at the start, and then once we get to the savannah, we get into the action. The beast didn’t need to be a two hour movie and I’m glad it wasn’t; I was engaged the whole time, especially once the rogue lion was around.
All in all, it’s a movie worth seeing on the big screen. There are beautiful shots of the savannah and the amazing animals that live there; Sometimes I felt like I was on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom. The only criticism I can find is that the CGI for the lions isn’t amazing, but they get the job done, especially in the last 15 minutes of the movie. The beast is an excellent survival thriller with a wonderful cast, so I highly recommend you go see it while you can in theaters!
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