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The Crack Magazine

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The Beasts

Director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen

Stars: Denis Ménochet, Marina Foïs, Luis Zahera, Diego Anido

Inspired by real events, Spanish director’s Sorogoyen’s film, co-scripted with Isabel Peña, is pitched somewhere between sociological study of gentrification and brooding thriller a la ‘Straw Dogs’. Olga (Foïs) and Antoine (Ménochet) are a middle-aged middle-class environmentalist French couple who have relocated to a small rural village in Galicia. They are enjoying their bucolic life, growing vegetables and renovating abandoned cottages, but some of the locals are contemptuous of the newcomers, particularly the neighbouring farmers, brothers Xan (Zahera) and Lorenzo (Anido); Xan especially enjoys goading Antoine in the local pub and is irritated when Antoine films their exchanges. Then, an argument over a wind farm instillation brings tensions to boiling point. It’s a little overlong, but the picture boasts some striking imagery (particularly an opening slow motion sequence of a wild horse being subdued) and an unnerving percussive score from Olivier Arson. Finely-modulated performances too, especially from Ménochet as the hulking but vulnerable and unsure Antoine, and Foïs, whose Olga emerges as the most steely and determined character of all.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm