BEAST

Cert 15 106mins Stars 4

The pungent atmosphere of this throat-grabbing British thriller is a heady mix of earthy lust, poisonous snobbery and cold-hearted corruption.

It’s a modern-day fairytale inspired by infamous ‘Beast of Jersey’, a 1960’s paedophile who preyed on the islands inhabitants.

Moll is a red-haired Cinderella who escapes her strict mother to pursue a romance with a local poacher, only to see him suspected of being a multiple child rapist and murderer.

Irish actress Jessie Buckley will be familiar from Tom Hardy’s TV series, Taboo, and gives a mesmerising performance which swings from dead-pan subtlety to raw physicality. Johnny Flynn is vulnerable and wolfish as her boyfriend, Pascal.

A haunting choral soundtrack reinforces the timeless nature, and the arch script is a great example of how filmmakers are choosing to side-step the plot-ruining internet, by pretending it doesn’t exist.

This is a scarily confident directorial debut by writer Michael Pearce, and I’m intrigued to see what beastly surprises his talent serves up next.

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