A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.
Other than Cats (2019), in every role played by Idris Elba (The Harder They Fall) he’s a character that exudes confidence. He’s always a leader or some form of authoritative figure that always has a plan up his sleeve for success. With Beast it’s the exact opposite, making it stand out from his previous films. He’s trapped in the Savanna desert trying to protect his daughters from a savage killer lion whose primary goal is death and destruction. Most individuals would not know how to handle this situation which is understandable, being completely out of their element, but he handles it the best way he can, making this another entertaining film in his filmography.
Who is Idris playing, you may ask? His name is Dr. Nate Samuels, and he has two loving daughters, Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith Samuels (Iyana Halley). The relationship they all have is not perfect, no family is perfect. There’s definitely some strife between them and how good or bad Nate is as a father. I thought this dynamic was important for the film, as it displayed the cracks in their communication, and that can always lead to problems. It’s something most people deal with in life, making their characters a bit more relatable. However, while Meredith had every right to feel the way she did, she was a person that makes it hard to root for her. She came across as disrespectful and rude at times, and also didn’t make the best logical decisions when danger is lurking around the corner. The same can possibly be said for the younger of the siblings, Norah, but as mentioned she’s a bit younger and less mature. Norah however did come through to save the day at times during moments of despair which made the audience cheer out loud in the theater. The only drawback of the character Norah is that her acting was extremely suspect at times. Unfortunately, she’s not the best actress but still was able to please a crowd.
Another positive is the runtime of the film. Including the credits, this feature only clocks in at ninety-three minutes. Short films are always a plus if the story is told completely, and in this case, it was. So, if you’re needing a babysitter for a short amount of time, this is a film you can escape to.
The director is Baltasar Kormákur (Two Guns) who is someone I’m not too familiar with, but I will be paying attention now. The way he used the camera was one of the best aspects of the film. As a few films have done in the past, he creates the illusion that the majority of the film was shot with one continuous take. This raises the suspense level to the highest of levels because you don’t know what’s lurking around the corner whatever the danger may be. In this case, it’s a lion and my goodness it’s terrifying.
This is another great setup for the film, as it doesn’t take long at all to show the carnage and how ruthless this wild animal is. Imagine some of the latest shark movies or JAWS but on land, and that’s what we have here with Beast. It’s all familiar but completely different since all the surrounding characters are not in a large body of water. This is probably one of the scariest lions to ever hit the screen. There may not be many in the past to compare it to, but I’ll be skeptical to get too close to the cage the next time I go visit the zoo. At moments it felt like the lion was souped-up on cocaine with how aggressive he was, and in a sense, it’s hard to blame the lion too. There’s a reason why he’s going on this rampage, which is valid making the whole experience in the theater that much more enjoyable. Being entertaining is an understatement because that lion was truly frightening. Who was going to make it out alive in the end was a true mystery.
The only drawback besides what was previously mentioned was the final showdown between Dr. Nate Samuels and the lion. The Man vs. Beast Final Showdown was a little too unrealistic in my opinion. The lion did look great with all the CGI throughout the film, but it started to unravel itself towards the end. I respect Nate Samuels for standing up to a lion to save his daughters (most great fathers would), but it could’ve been executed more precisely to sell the realism of the situation. Suspending your disbelief into outer space may be necessary. However, it’s still an enjoyable film that I think anyone who was already interested in it should definitely see.