The Broadway Theatre

The Beast

The Beast

Tuesday, August 20, 2024
9:00 PM / Broadway Theatre

The Beast / 2023/ France, Canada / Dir: Bertrand Bonello / 145 Min/ Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

A high-concept enigma with the best use of green screen since Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, Bertrand Bonello’s latest genre-exploding film is, at its core, a time-skipping romance that could just as well be subtitled ​“Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages.” The Beast takes after Henry James’s novella The Beast in the Jungle, its title suggestive of the threat that waits out of sight. This danger is palpable in all three eras in which we encounter Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) and Louis (George MacKay)—the end of la belle époque, a recent chapter in millennial violence, and the not-so-distant year of 2044. James’s protagonist is haunted by a sense of déjà vu, ​“the sequel of something of which he had lost the beginning,” and Bonello obliges this prompt, tying on threads of reincarnated fate to the duo’s fraught encounters with courtship, computers, and other courses of rerouted desire. No other film last year quite resembled The Beast.

“Bonello keeps the flow of striking, uncanny images coming … [The Beast] suggests a filmmaker interested in both the mechanics and metaphysics of manipulation, and also in limning the difference between time-tested genre tropes and the raw terror of reality itself.”

Adam Nayman, Film Comment

“[An] unparalleled and engrossing technophobia vision … Wrings from James’s tale of fate and loneliness something suitably grotesque, oblique, and at times even trollish—wholly resonant with our times.”

Elissa Suh, Literary Hub

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