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The Beast

(M)

“I have a deep-seated feeling that something terrible will occur”

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Overview

Starring Léa Seydoux and George MacKay, The Beast is a beautiful, bizarre, centuries–spanning science fiction romance (and at times a menacing thriller) by director Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent, Nocturama). In the year 2044, when artificial intelligence controls all facets of an emotionally barren society, Gabrielle (Seydoux) considers volunteering herself to a surgical procedure that will "purify her DNA" – erasing her memories, emotions and affects to better her career. Throughout the preparations she relives past lives and continually falls in love with different incarnations of Louis (MacKay). In Belle Époque-era Paris, Louis is a British man who woos her away from a cold husband, then in early 21st Century Los Angeles, he is a disturbed American bent on delivering violent “retribution”. Can these cosmically intertwined lovers learn from their pasts to find some connection in the present or will they both succumb to an emotionless existence?

Why You Should See This Film

While the premise brings to mind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Last Year at Marienbad, this is another beast entirely that sits closer to something in the uncanny mire of Twin Peaks: The Return. Inspired by Henry James' 1903 novella The Beast in the Jungle, Bonello ingeniously disturbs this complex cosmic love story with a mounting dread and increasing unpredictability. Playing three different characters each, Seydoux and MacKay prove their astounding range and act as cohesive anchors to this structurally audacious film. For all the descriptors we could try to pin this film down with, The Beast is certainly one of our favourite films of the year.

Year:
2023
Rating:
M
Director:
Bertrand Bonello
Cast:
Léa Seydoux, George MacKay, Guslagie Malanda, Dasha Nekrasova, Tom Neal, Julia Faure
Duration:
146 minutes
Language:
English, French with English subtitles

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