About the film
Director: Michael Pearce
Actors: Jessie BuckleyNot quite England and not quite France, the isle of Jersey occupies a unique space within Europe. While the picturesque idyll is primarily known for its temperate climate and history of cattle farming, in Michael Pearce’s Beast, it takes on the sinister identity of a suffocating enclave in a strange state of social flux.
The woman caught up in the midst of Beast is called Moll, a troubled 20 something who still lives at home, under a permanent shadow cast by her imperious mother Hilary (Geraldine James), who continues to treat her daughter like the unmanageable teen we gradually learn she once was. Virtually trapped by the demands of her family, Moll finds a potential escape in the mysterious figure of Pascal.
While puppy love unfolds between Moll and Pascal, a murderer is on the loose, preying on the island’s teenage girls. As tensions begin to flare and accusations stack up, Moll is forced to confront the very real possibility that her new beau is not all he claims to be – and more worryingly, the uneasy thought that she might not care.
Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn (Moll and Pascal) deliver exceptional performances, creating complex, fully developed protagonists, while debut feature director Michael Pearce, who also wrote the film, creates a brooding, psychological thriller.
This stunningly assured debut from writer/director Pearce uses small, human moments to capture enormous truths. Pearce and the remarkable actress Jessie Buckley have created, in Moll, an unforgettable portrait of desperation and obsession. The remote setting and gloriously stark cinematography only add to the pervasive feeling of isolation.
“The brilliance of Beast lies in the compelling nature of Pearce’s storytelling. This is a psychological crime thriller masked by a sweeping and scandalous romance. The fear of murder lingers in the air, yet doesn’t assume all of the focus. The audience is mesmerized by Pascal and Moll.” – Film Threat