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The dissolution of a marriage is inherently frightening. An
often anxiety-ridden and sobering act of disillusion, it's of course prime
material to filter through genre, perhaps most amazing and grandly explored in
Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION. Existing on a similar plane of paranoia and our
darker natures, Christoffer Boe's somber and unnerving slow burn BEAST is
probably best left to those confident they won't be signing papers anytime
The film is only briefly interested in the momentary
happiness of main couple Bruno (Nicolas Bro) and Maxine (Marijana Jankovic),
quickly peeking in on the day they purchased their gorgeous home, lit up by the
possibilities of life together, before we understand it's now a private hell
harboring the eponymous creature, one growing inside Bruno.
The beast itself, encompasses a whole lot, being a physical
entity within and more metaphoric representation of jealousy, narcissism,
psychosexual desire and communication breakdown. Bruno plays a sick head game
with his wife and her lover (she returns the favor) as Boe assuredly takes us
on a frigid journey around Copenhagen,
allowing him to quite physically showcase the sneaky and hidden nature that
arises when honesty and affection fall by the wayside, but an aggressive
territorial attitude remains.
Boe is wonderful at balancing the more external expression
of these ideas and fears, and more abstract and surreal moments of pure horror.
BEAST feels Lynchian in the way its grim atmosphere of weirdness isn't hard to
cut through, but rooted in simple concerns and broken up by beautiful establishing
looks at the very chilly, empty streets of Copenhagen. Despite its fairly short
running time, BEAST is deliberate, but compelling nonetheless, with turns into
the realm of body horror feeling not only earned, but just as sharp, biting and
rough as, well, the end of a marriage.
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