Beast, review: the “Lion King” by Idris Elba

Beast, review: the “Lion King” by Idris Elba

Beast, review

The screen gets dark, silence falls. Then a soft chirping of crickets. In the distance the lions roar. We understand that it is night. And that we are not alone. Beast, the new film by acclaimed director Baltasar Kormákur, begins like this, just like a certain incipit of a certain cartoon with certain lions. But then there is no roaring solar intro, a metaphor for the light returning in the great circle of life. No, Beast continues its opening scene in the dark, amidst whispers, soft African voices that speak of hunting, injustice, death.

Among great predators, landscapes of South Africa and Idris Elba, it was inevitable to reconnect to the Lion King, especially for the majestic felines in computer graphics that recall (and surpass) the ambitious live action namesake. But this is not a film suitable for those looking for a bit of Hakuna Matata (even if it is branded for ages 6 and up), this is a thriller that exploits the fear of the fearsome "man-eaters". Apart from the graphic rendering, is the plot convincing? Is it worth watching at the cinema or was it better to wait for the usual bounce on some streaming channel? And above all, who is the real "beast" we are talking about? Here is our review on the Universal Pictures film, which will then be available in Italian cinemas from 22 September.

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The director's choice of timing, already known for directing great blockbusters, such as 101 Reykjavík and The Deep, "cold and massive" like their settings, was a well thought-out move: excluding the opening moment, about 15 minutes in which the characters literally "land and settle down", the rest of the film flows with a rhythm "right". All the attention is (rightly) placed in the lion attack scenes, which are really good at the cinema, thanks also to a sound effect as powerful as a real roar.

Beast Review

Beast: the devil has come to Mopani

After watching the Beast trailer, the first comparison that rightly comes to mind is with the cult thriller Spirits in the Dark, a 1996 film starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas, where Colonel John Henry Patterson chased two killer lions, determined to prevent a bridge from being built.

Probably few of you they will remember it, but we want to say it anyway: that film was beautiful, very long but very capable of keeping you clinging to your armchair. Retrieve it and try to tell us that it is not, remembering that it is taken from a book inspired by a true story, the real massacre of Tsavo. And we can also guarantee that, when compared with Beast, you will find some references to the film by Stephen Hopkins, within the dialogues and in some settings. Will it be wanted or not? Who knows, but having made this necessary premise, which we will not deepen here, not now, we can immediately tell you that Beast, unlike Spirits in the Darkness, does not make history, dialogues and lore his strong point. Indeed, one of its weaknesses is the predictability of the scenes and the lack of seized opportunities, scattered here and there throughout the plot.

Beast Review Essentially, the whole plot is one subtle criticism of poachers, the real "beasts", those who turn the same animals into devilish monsters that are able, if treated with care and respect, to hug a man affectionately. But, as we wrote above, there is not much else in the film. One feels the loss of not having wanted to grasp some in-depth information on Africa, the legacy of his mother, to further exploit Elba's interpretation, which is however among the main reasons to give Beast a chance: here the British actor did an incredible job, there is little to do. His identification with the man-eater is surprising. A round of applause also goes to the choice of shots, with certain sequence shots and shades in the off-screen that are small details, but make the difference. A real treat for this genre of thriller, in which the lethal opponent specializes in lightning-fast ambushes.

In conclusion, we recommend that you see it at the cinema, because although Beast is not the best film on the lions, worth a chance if you are a fan of Elba and want to go on a safari in South Africa. A frantic hunt / escape, where the predator becomes the prey and vice versa? Perhaps obvious, but certainly effective, an unpretentious film to see if you want an adrenaline-fueled trip out of town, which flows well, like a lion that wakes up every morning in Africa when the sun rises. And start running.

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