top of page
  • Writer's pictureJamie

The Beast - Review

I’ve definitely said this a few times, but this one takes the cake for the least accessible film that I have reviewed. It feels like you need to have all the time and all the dedication to even start to piece this film together. However, I do have that time and dedication, and I appreciate it for that. I’m more than a big fan of brain rot films that pass the time, but once in a while, I like to go into a film that feels so dense with ideas and an objective that it sparks conversations with anyone else who has seen it. La Bête offers up some interesting questions on fate and inherent humanity, in a futuristic time when it’s perceived as a weakness. Definitely not a film for everyone, even in the screening I was in, people laughed out loud at the ending, and moments throughout. It was a film for me though, let me tell you why.

However, I will attempt to relay the story first. It’s both complicated and also very simple. We’ve got 2044, 2014 and 1910. We’re following Gabrielle Monnier (Léa Seydoux) and Louis Lewanski (George MacKay) in all three timelines through their past lives. 2044 is the present day, where AI has taken over and deemed humans too emotional to do a lot of jobs, because their emotions get in the way of making effective and important decisions. In order to qualify for these jobs, humans go through a process of working through their traumas in past lives and correcting themselves to be a perfect mould of a worker. Gabrielle is currently looking to undergo this process, with hesitancy of losing herself and what makes her human. Some of the description is my perception or what I understood, but in basic terms, that’s what we’re rocking with.

In all these past lives, Gabrielle seems to keep coming in contact with Louis, but never really allowing their love to blossom. I wonder if they ever will? Only a viewing or spoiler review could tell.

I don’t feel like anything in his film is exactly reinventing the wheel with ideas but the combination of AI, fate and love all make for a really intriguing story, even after a two and a half hour runtime. I only found myself in a slight energy slump around the thirty minute mark, where I struggled to keep focus for about fifteen minutes. From the hour onwards, I think the film keeps a really great pace, being able to build tension in multiple different ways, where you don’t know what’s going to happen but have a dread of inevitability lingering in the back of your mind. The film does this in interesting ways from the different timelines, interweaving them through their connected characters but jumping from different plotlines contained within them all. Confusing at times, but so rewarding at the conclusion of each of them.

The film’s look changes from one setting to the other, with 2014 feeling the most familiar. There is a stark and bare look to the 2044 version that reminds me of early Covid city streets. This is mixed in with some brutalist architecture that is a little bit Blade Runner-esque (without all the grimy grunge).

1910 is a classic candlelit, faithful showcase of the times, complete with grand sets and costuming.

The aspect ratio jumps around between the three also, which even without the distinct production design and costumes, you can distinguish where you are through the more oppressive viewing angles and shot choices.

The music is great in this too, jumping between decades mostly through the 2044 nightclub that changes its musical year each night.

I understand how this film could be one that people will just write off as weird and pretentious but unfortunately I think there is much more to it than just art for art’s sake. I am so on board with not giving credit to weirdness that has nothing behind it, however, I think The Beast is all intentional and knows exactly what it’s doing. The evidence is the feelings it throws out at you throughout, giving you moments of love, worry and even horror to distinctly cling on to.


bottom of page