Review: Beast Beast (Sundance 2020)

Title: Beast Beast
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Danny Madden
Starring: Shirley Chen, Will Madden, Jose Angeles
Runtime: 1 hr 25 mins 

What It Is: Krista (Chen) is a very popular theater-loving girl at her high school. She loves being on stage and used to make little films with her YouTuber neighbor (and staunch gun lover) Adam (Madden). Nito (Angeles) is the new kid in school. He loves skateboarding and parkour. When his locker is placed below Krista the two meet and friendship, and maybe more begins to grow. Just when the two are starting to get serious tragedy strikes their town. A tragedy that will leave all three of these young people forever shaken and changed.

What We Think: This is a film that isn’t per se great so much as it is “good”. Our two leads are great and even Madden as the second amendment stan Adam is good. Really though the themes are too jumbled. The plot about gun violence is a bit too on the nose. It has a romantic subplot and that too doesn’t hit with the power it should. This film’s young actors are fine it’s simply the script and story letting them down. I loved Jose Angeles in this! His performance felt organic, natural like a real teenager…as it should.

Our Grade: C, With a few story tweaks and a bit less of a messy narrative this could’ve been the biggest surprise of the festival. As it stands it is just very meh. I think many in the audience will like this…except alt-right gun totters. If you’re one of those people you’re welcomed here (so long as you aren’t an asshole) but this isn’t the film for you. I look forward to whatever the two young leads do next. Shirley Chen is so good and I can’t wait to see her in more things.

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