I have loved Idris Elba since Pacific Rim. I was thrilled to get the chance to review this film because it looked exciting and seemed to have a good story. Once I watched the film, I found it just as thrilling as I hoped, with great acting by Idris Elba, the young ladies playing his daughters, tons of realistic action, perfect music, and beautiful cinematography.

Beast is a survival thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormákur from a screenplay by Ryan Engle based on a story by Jaime Primak Sullivan. In the film, Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) takes his two daughters, Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries), to Africa after the death of their mother. Once there, they meet with his old friend, Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), who works on the animal reserve as a wildlife biologist like Nate’s wife. Martin introduces them to the lion pride he works with, but one of the female lions is wounded. Martin seeks help at a local village, but they find everyone dead, attacked by a rogue lion who was hunted by poachers. The ferocious lion begins hunting Nate and his daughters, and they must find a way to survive in the wilderness, ill-armed against the beast.

(from left) Nathan (Idris Elba), Martin (Sharlto Copley), Mare (Iyana Halley), and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) in Beast, directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Photo Credit: Lauren Mulligan/Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

One of the first things I noticed is the beautiful cinematography. The director has capitalized on the natural wildlife of the African Savannah to create shots that highlight the danger of the lion but also the grace and elegance of both the lion and the other animals in the area. The camera is used to beautiful effect to create a thrilling story full of action and drama. It also helps sell the believability of the lion attacking.

The next key piece that impressed me was the music. The director chose to use a lot of traditional African music to highlight the beauty of the area. It perfectly complemented the film, the action, and the drama of the situation. It was evocative and beautiful without being overdone either. I would honestly pay for just the soundtrack to the film.

Next, while the story is not too terribly original, what made it interesting was the dynamic between Nate and his daughters. In the film, his wife and their mother have recently died. Meredith resents her father and is angry at him for not being there enough for them. There is also friction between her and Norah because Norah is not as angry with her father. Part of what makes the survival so compelling is the way it allows for the pair to work out their issues as they battle the lion. I also liked that even though there is a ton of action, Nate isn’t perfect. He is skilled as a doctor, and we see that highlighted during the movie, but he doesn’t have unexpected skills like shooting or hotwiring a vehicle. Everything is perfectly believable, even the rogue lion. While some might find it far-fetched, much of the facts were realistic given the circumstances and the wildlife information I understand. It is unusual and richly appreciated to have accuracy in a wildlife film. I will admit that the lion did remind me of Scar from The Lion King, but I doubt that was on purpose.

(from left) Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Nathan (Idris Elba) in Beast, directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Photo Credit: Lauren Mulligan/Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The acting was brilliant. Idris Elba is as dynamic and protective as Nate, and his interactions with Iyana Halley and Leah Sava Jeffries were engaging. Their chemistry was rich and felt believable. Both Iyana Halley and Leah Sava Jeffries had solid chemistry as well and felt like sisters. They were equally skilled with their performances, the fear from all three realistic and the drama heightened by their performances. Sharlto Copley also provided a fantastic performance as Martin, warm and quick to action. I thoroughly enjoyed the acting of all four.

Idris Elba as Nathan in Beast, directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Photo Credit: Lauren Mulligan/Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The only caution I can give is that the idea of survival in the wild has been done before, and some of the plot was predictable. However, the story is solid, the plot is full of action and drama, and the predictability did not limit my enjoyment of the movie or lessen the tension or the pacing of the film.

If you love Idris Elba and survival films, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. The acting is awesome, the film is full of drama, and the relationships are well thought out. The film is realistic and just some of the most beautiful scenery and music I’ve seen in a film for a while. I loved seeing this film, and I hope you do too.

Rating: 4 out of 5 photos

Official Website: Beast | Movie Site & Trailer | In Theaters Friday
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Genre: Adventure/Drama/Horror/Thriller

Idris Elba (FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW, THE SUICIDE SQUAD) stars in a pulse-pounding new thriller about a father and his two teenage daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the savannah has but one apex predator. Elba plays Dr. Nate Daniels, a recently widowed husband who returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife, on a long-planned trip with their daughters to a game reserve managed by Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley, RUSSIAN DOLL series, MALEFICENT), 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. BEAST opens in theaters Friday, August 19, 2022.

ONE-LINER: A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.

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