Michael Pearce on the different interpretations of Beast

Michael Pearce recently sat down for a Q&A about his directorial debut Beast, a psychological thriller starring Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn.


You can read my review of the movie here, but it is basically about Moll (Buckley) who is torn between her oppressive family and her boyfriend Pascal (Flynn), who has been accused of a series of murders.

The film is very ambiguous and leaves the audience guessing about who is ‘the Beast’, and Michael spoke about the different audience interpretations at the Q&A.

Here’s what he said:

“I’ve had very different reactions about who is the Beast, which has been quite validating. At Sundance we had the first person that asked a question said, ‘Well obviously Moll is the Beast and she committed all these murders’ and asked a question, and then there was this big groan from the one side of the audience and the next question was like, ‘I don’t know what that woman is speaking about, it’s obvious that he is’ and there was almost this mini debate going on.

“So to see equally passionate and equally valid interpretations of the film, that was quite…  because I always have this thing where maybe people think my tastes are quite arthouse, I sometimes hate that arthouse movies don’t have a third act and I really wanted it to be climactic, I wanted the character to slay the dragon but I equally wanted there to be a kind of question mark left for the audience to engage with.

“In Greece when we showed it there, there was a guy, he must have been 90, grabbed me after the screening – he didn’t speak any English so he had to get someone else to interpret – and he said that this movie is about the proletarian going against the upper class, he doesn’t care what my interpretation is – that’s what the movie’s about! Which I think is a valid take on the movie.”

Beast is in selected UK cinemas now.

SEE ALSO: Michael Pearce talking about casting Pascal 

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