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La bête
The Beast

Directed by Bertrand Bonello
Produced by Bertrand Bonello and Justin Taurand
Screenplay by Bertrand Bonello Story by Bertrand Bonello, Guillaume Bréaud, and Benjamin Charbit Based on the novella The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James
With: Léa Seydoux, George MacKay, Guslagie Malanga, Dasha Nekrasova, Martin Scali, Elina Löwensohn, Marta Hoskins, Julia Faure, and Kester Lovelace
Cinematography: Josée Deshaies
Editing: Anita Roth
Music: Bertrand Bonello and Anna Bonello
Runtime: 146 min
Release Date: 07 February 2024
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color: Color

For anyone who found Beau Is Afraid too bland, straightforward, and by the numbers, Bertrand Bonello's The Beast should be right up your alley. Like Ari Aster's magical 2023 surrealist comedy of anxiety, The Beast is a terrific mind-fuck of a movie that has the discipline to stick to its own internal logic and structure, delivering both chills and chuckles. This is a film best seen totally cold, so I'll forgo any plot description other than to say that Bonello's trifurcated sci-fi romance is based on Henry James' 1903 novella "The Beast In The Jungle" in much the way the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on Homer's epic poem The Odyssey, or Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest is based on Martin Amis' book The Zone of Interest. This is "The Beast In The Jungle" by way of Lost Highway with a bit of Ex Machina, Titanic, American Psycho, and Certified Copy mixed in without ever feeling derivative of any of those works. If that's not enough to entice you, this is also a movie in which the magnificent Léa Seydoux appears in virtually every frame and gives a tour de force performance as the three different characters who are also possibly all the same woman. I saw this 145-minute film at a late-night screening, and while I did not doze off, I was in somewhat of a liminal state, which may be the ideal way to experience this picture.

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The magnificent Léa Seydoux embodies 3 different characters who are possibly all the same woman in Bertrand Bonello's romantic sci-fi adaption of Henry James by way of David Lynch, Abbas Kiarostami, James Cameron, and Bret Easton Ellis.