The Beast (15)

The Beast

The year is 2044: artificial intelligence controls all facets of a stoic society as humans routinely 'erase' their feelings. Hoping to eliminate pain caused by their past-life romances, Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) continually falls in love with different incarnations of Louis (George MacKay). Visually audacious director Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent, Nocturama) fashions his most accomplished film to date: a sci-fi epic, inspired by Henry James' turn-of-the-century novella, suffused with mounting dread and a haunting sense of mystery.

The Garden Cinema View:

To call Bertrand Bonello’s The Beast a kind of arthouse Cloud Atlas might sound flippant, but like the Wachowski sisters’ mad epic, there is a certain ambition (and a certain pretension) here which is laudable in itself. The triptych structure of The Beast does lead to the kind of unevenness found in anthology filmmaking (although there is a core connection throughout the film, and the editing is nonlinear at times). The 19th century romance is convincing even as a standalone, and George MacKay’s very fluent French acting is impressive. The dystopian section is odd and intriguing. Reminiscent of Kogonada’s After Yang and Spike Jonze’s Her, this vision of future Paris also recalls Nouvelle Vague sci-fi experiments like Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville and Chris Marker’s La Jetée. The middle section, a long, often single location exploration of incel culture and domestic terrorism will likely be divisive. MacKay and Léa Seydoux perform this faultlessly, and a nightmarish dream logic (think late career David Lynch) pervades. A unique film which will delight some and frustrate others.  

Book Tickets

Wednesday 26 Jun 20245:10pm