Idris Elba Holding a RIfle - The Movie Beast
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Idris Elba toplines the enjoyable popcorn flick Beast

Fresh off producing this year’s Oscars, Will Packer returns to theaters with the enjoyable thriller from Universal Pictures. Idris Elba portrays a father who, with his two teenage daughters, finds themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator. Baltasar Kormákur directs the film from a script by Ryan Egle. 

Dr. Nate Daniels (Elba) is a recently widowed husband who returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife, on a long-planned trip with their daughters Meredith (Iyanna Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) to a game reserve managed by Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), an old family friend and wildlife biologist. But what begins as a journey of healing jolts into a fearsome fight for survival when a lion, a survivor of blood-thirsty poachers who now sees all humans as the enemy, begins stalking them.

One of the first things I want to advise viewers about Beast is suspending your disbelief. There would not be any movies like Beast if everyone acted with sense constantly, and that would be a very boring event. In reality, lions do not behave in this manner, and humans tend to be better at survival than these movies like this would lead one to believe.

That said, the team behind Beast knows precisely the kind of popcorn movie the audience wants to see and waits no time to set up the plot. Following a brief introduction to our heroes, they are fighting for their lives within the next 1/2 hour. In the role of Nate, Idris tones down his alpha persona a bit but never falls into the category of a beta. Kudos to the filmmakers for keeping his character a robust black man willing to do what it takes to protect him for the film’s duration.

I was also fond of Iyanna Halley and Leah Jeffries as his daughters. Both actresses give their characters enough meat to where they never appear annoying or bratty. Finally, Sharlto Copley brings his usual everyman approach to the role of Martin.

Beast isn’t anything groundbreaking. It should be noted, however, that the audience I was with found some parts of the film frightening and stressful. When watching a movie like this, the most fun is the traditional jump scare, your date flinching and you naturally talking back to the screen as the scene unfolds. 

Having said that, if Beast wanted to scare someone like myself away from ever embarking on a safari, I believe the film accomplished its goal.

 

Final Grade: B

Beast is in theaters now

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