Movie Review: ‘Beast,’ starring Idris Elba, Leah Jeffries
Idris Elba’s newest thriller, ‘Beast,’ has all the makings of a thrilling B-movie.
It’s just a shame that it’s not that good. The plot is paper thin and predictable, perfect for a summer movie-goer.
Elba plays a widowed father coming to terms with the death of his wife while trying to protect his two daughters from a rogue, bloodthirsty lion, which has began to hunt humans due to poachers killing its pride. That’s it, there’s not much more to the plot of the film.
Elba is solid in the lead role of Nate Samuels despite not having a whole lot to work with. While the film will evoke thoughts of ‘Jaws’ and ‘Cujo,’ it’s not as good. In fact, if you’re looking for a better jungle themed thriller, see 1996’s ‘The Ghost and the Darkness.’
The film isn’t all bad. As mentioned, Elba is enjoyable to watch in just about any role he chooses. His daughters, played by Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley are also on top of their game. It’s clear that the daughters are also still coming to grips with the death of their mother and trying to mend a fractured relationship with their father.
Another film that you could compare to ‘Beast’ is Alexandre Aja’s ‘Crawl,’ which was about alligators attaching humans after a massive storm. That film was a complete dud and while ‘Beast’ wasn’t great, it was certainly heads and tails above ‘Crawl.’
The climactic fight between Elba and the lion is also reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio’s battle with a bear in ‘The Revenant,’ but it ends a bit differently. I think that was my biggest issue with the film. A lion is a huge creature, weighing around 700 pounds and in the final battle with Elba, his character tosses around the lion like it’s a man. It’s hard to believe.
My other issue with the film is it could have been so much better. The beginning starts out with poachers killing beautiful lions, which infuriates me. It makes it hard for me to feel any empathy toward humans in the jungle. The lion, after all, is just seeking revenge and rightfully so. As an animal lover, I would have been so much more into the film if there would have been more of a focus on poaching of these beautiful and endangered animals. In my view, it was an opportunity lost by the film.
‘Beast’ is a perfect example of a film that had promise, but ultimately gets devoured by a weak script. If you’re a fan of Elba, you will enjoy it, but if you love animals, this film may not be for you.
‘Beast’ gets a C-.