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Review: Idris Elba Vs. Lion In ‘Beast’

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BEAST (2022)

“How did the lion get here?” she asks. “He must have cut through the mountain.” A lion taking a shortcut about sums up the simplistic script of Beast, a film that features a solid Idris Elba performance and exciting action, but doesn’t have much more to it.

When a father (Elba) and his daughters visit South Africa, where Elba’s character met his late wife, a manic lion hellbent on revenge terrorizes them as they become trapped in the game reserve. If you’re expecting intense sequences with a lion torturing the characters and ever-present danger, you’re going to be well-rewarded. Where Beast stumbles is int he emotional subplot that comes across half-baked, pushed forward by out-of-place dialogue. The oldest teen, played by Iyana Halley, has a few moments of confrontation with her father that erupt inauthentically, strategically placed to advance the subplot, but lacking the intended impact. Her sister, played by Leah Jeffries, is hilarious though. Elementary plot development is a theme here as much of the dialogue is feeding the audience things to remember and explanations rather than organically evolving the story throughout. The film’s focus on portraying a strong father figure, however, is one of its biggest strengths.

Visually this a beautiful movie, save for some odd effects-heavy cutaways that are sharp left turns that serve more as a distraction than anything else. There are moments that will have you jumping from your seat while others will have you questioning if the wild lion is inexplicably invincible. At a tight 90 minutes, Beast moves swiftly and maintains your attention, but never charts any new course for a film of its type. Still an enjoyable outing.

Beast hits theaters Friday.

Rating: 3/5

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