Elba’s ‘Beast’ is Lean and Mean (With a cringe sequence)

So far, CGI magic can only make a movie like “Beast”.

The thriller is about a family surrounded by an out-of-control lion, a family made of zeros and Hollywood’s best.

What the story requires is the human element, a reason to fear the digital creature in the first place.

“Beast” delivers on that with a charismatic lead that makes it hard to undo past mistakes. It’s that element, not the wildly convincing “Beast,” that elevates this sober adventure.

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Idris Elba plays Nate, a doctor visiting an old friend in South Africa. It’s Sharlto Copley playing the role of an “anti-poaching” person who specializes in protecting wildlife from barbaric humans.

Nate brought her daughters with her on the trip, but Mere (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) are more than your average moody teenagers. They are still grieving the death of their mother, a loss that further complicates their feelings for their father.

He wasn’t around for his mother’s last days, or so they believed.

That situation takes up a lot of device time, and rightfully so. Young actresses sell their pain, and Elba’s Nate understands he can’t be modified with a safari adventure.

He will have to prove his worth in a much more dangerous way.

A local lion is ravaging the area, attacking humans at an alarming rate. Copley’s character, who has a deep understanding of animal behavior, is very confused. Lions don’t behave this way, he says again and again.

This “Beast” is right, and Nate’s family is its next target.


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“Beast” is like a sacred cousin to “Jaws” as well as any movie against natural predators. The terrain can be very different, but stress stems from a real fear we all have to varying degrees.

Should we swim in the sea today? Is that safari trip safe as the brochure?

What director Baltasar Kormákur (“Everest”) does well is retain enough realism to lay the foundation for the story. Nate’s medical skills come in handy – big fake software warning! – but he’s not superman.

Lions don’t behave like most oversized cats, but their aggression doesn’t feel evoked from the thin air.

The early human vs beast confrontations were somewhat true, so we’re investing in what happens next.

That’s why it was a pity that Kormákur’s discipline betrayed him in a crucial, third act confrontation. You’ll roll your eyes, a chuckle in your throat as disbelief fills the theater.

To paraphrase President Joe Biden, come on, man!


On the other hand, “Beast” moves quickly, giving us compelling characters and more than enough reason to stem from Nate’s mother. The rest belonged to Elba, who handled the document with Shakespearian intensity.

If “Beast” hit theaters in the 1980s, our hero would fight a lion or tear his shirt off before a pivotal battle.

Elba’s Nate is a father, not a warrior, but his fatherly instincts cannot be denied. You could argue that lions never stand a chance.

And, with a perfect 90-minute run, “Beast” never comes near past its welcome deadline.

Hit or miss: “Beast” is a tense adventure that never detracts from the humanity of the victims who will be victims.

Post Elba’s ‘Beast’ is Lean and Mean (With a cringe sequence) appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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