Beast examines the hidden bestiality in the human psyche. This grim story stars a brilliant Jessie Buckley in a role that won her awards. Director Michael Pearce also won awards for this film. It’s streaming on Prime Video.
In Beast, we first get to know Moll (Jessie Buckley) as one of the angelic voices in her mother’s choir. At her birthday party, she seems bored and sneaks off to the local bar to drink all night with a stranger.
Still with the stranger early the next morning, he tries to kiss Moll. She tells him no but he persists. Suddenly a man with a gun, Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn) is there. He chases the unwelcome kisser away. Moll is fascinated with Pascal immediately and gets in his truck unafraid.
There’s a serial killer on the island of Jersey, where to story is set. The police think it might be Pascal. He has a record. By the time she learns this, Moll is already involved with him. They have sex anywhere and everywhere. She moves into his house.
Moll and Pascal do dangerous and crazy things together. They climb the cliffs, stand in the pounding waves, seek thrills. He teaches her how to shoot and she kills a rabbit in the most surprising way.
When the police ask her about the night of the latest murder, Moll lies and says she spent the entire night in the bar with Pascal, not the other guy. The police have CCTV to prove she’s lying, but she lies anyway.
There’s something not quite right about her relationship with her mother (Geraldine James) and her family, but it’s hard to pin down what it is at first. It’s a slow reveal.
That slow reveal explains why Moll was home-schooled, why she is treated like a pariah. Her attraction to the violent and dangerous Pascal finally becomes clear.
As the film progressed it became not a mystery or a love affair but a horror story. It takes us deeper and deeper into the worst impulses of human behavior. Jessie Buckley’s characterization of Moll at the center of the story is utterly impressive. I was enthralled by her performance more than by the dark and grim tale that unfolded.
Beast isn’t the film for everyone, so I’m not recommending it for everyone. But Jessie Buckley fans can hold her performance in this up as one of the best they will ever see.
Have a look at the trailer.
What do you think? Are you going to give this film a try? If you watch it, I’d love to know what you thought about it, especially the ending.