‘The Beast’ review: Lovers can’t connect and AI is to blame

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

Whether it’s Charlie Chaplin literally stuck in the gears of industrialization in “Modern Times” or James Cameron creating a fascinating vision of robots enslaving us in “The Terminator,” audiences are constantly confronted with the threat of machines. have to do it. But French writer-director Bertrand Bonillo’s haunting new film paints those anxieties in muted new colors, telling a love story that spans its characters’ past lives and future lives, tying them eternally. Condemns dissatisfaction. “Beast” may ostensibly be about artificial intelligence, but it’s really about the terror of being alive.

Based on Henry James’ 1903 novel “The Beast in the Jungle,” “The Beast” consists of three overlapping segments, all starring Léa Seydoux and George MacKay. The first episode, set in Paris in 1910, concerns Gabrielle (Sedoux), whose rich husband leaves her at high society events where she meets a charming Bert-Louis (McKay) who reminds her of They were actually introduced years ago. Later iterations of Gabriel and Lois will come face-to-face in 2014 in Los Angeles and again in 2044 in a dystopian Paris, each time drawn to each other even as grim predictions suggest that their The affair will never last.

In films like “Nocturama,” director Bonello examines people who seem to be worthless in life, their futile actions a desperate attempt to give meaning to the meaningless. A similar sense of ennui permeates “The Beast” when the film provocatively opens with Bonello, off-camera, directing Seydoux into a blank green-screen space, telling him that the final product What will be seen in the frame? It’s a scene of sheer artificiality, commenting on the tone of our CGI-driven modern cinema, but the suggestion also establishes the uneasiness that coils through “The Beast,” the title of that undefined force. is a reference to what Gabrielle believes will finally awaken her spell of doom.

This anxiety is heightened by the 2044 section, in which Gabriel chooses to delete his emotions – a common occurrence in the film’s terrifying, AI-dominated future. Emphasizing minimalist architecture and muted performances, Bonello critiques sci-fi tropes, but the earlier sequences, themselves, reflect on familiar genres, with parts of the 1910s being a lush recreation of the costume romance. And there is a part of the 2014 film. Indeed, L.A.’s endless sunshine serves as an irony for both Gabrielle’s failure to become a Hollywood star and Louis’s angry anselm-fueled video diatribes that direct women who won’t date him, his All eyes are now focused on Gabrielle. (Adding to the troubling subtext, Bonello and MacKay include real praise for Elliot Rodger, the miscreant who killed six people in Santa Barbara in 2014.)

With its green-screen opening and unorthodox closing credits — you need to scan a QR code to see them — “The Beast” defies our encroaching digital reality, but Bonello argues That dehumanization takes place in a number of subtle ways. Whether it’s Gabrielle and Louis’ hopeless pining at Belle Epoque Paris or 2014’s Louis’ dark obsession with Gabrielle, the filmmaker observes the everyday conditions that tear us apart—how we avoid pain. are constantly denying their true feelings for L.A. Louis is a monster created as a reaction to rejection, while 1910’s Gabriel realizes too late who he should have given his heart to. When the characters of 2044 consider erasing their emotions, it’s just the latest example of the soul-numbing activity they’re always engaged in.

The film’s Lynchian realism and time-jumping adventures, though occasionally stifled by the narrative, are elevated by the two leads. Seydoux, a Bonello veteran, is as believable in the upper class of City of Lights in 1910 as she is as a struggling actor in City of Angels a century later. A gloom of romantic despair hangs over the proceedings, and that uneasiness is only reflected in the fact that Bonello originally intended to play Louis before the actor’s untimely death in 2022 with Gaspard Ulliel (director’s “St. Laurent” star) was To learn French for the role — Bonello chose an English-speaking actor so as not to be compared to Yule, to whom the film is dedicated — and the “1917” star shines in a part that has plenty of Skill is required.

Indeed, the suave first class Louis is nothing like the sexist crap of the L.A. sequences, two very different portraits of failed lovers. Is this dangerous beast coming to devour Gabriel? Or is animal AI an ever-present threat? Bonello leaves the question hanging, but this beautiful, brooding play ultimately offers a haunting answer: Maybe there isn’t a beast—maybe it’s our fear of feeling too deeply that destroys us. Gives. Gabriel doesn’t have to worry about his LA stalker or dystopian future. Slowly but surely, we destroy ourselves.


Not classified

In French and English, with English subtitles

running time: 2 hours, 26 minutes

Play: Opens Friday, April 5, at the Landmark Theater Sunset, West Los Angeles. AMC Burbank 16

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

Leave a Comment