Beasts Of The Southern Wild

  • Year:2012
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Benh Zeitlin
  • Cast:Dwight Henry, Quvenzhan√© Wallis
  • Release Date:September 13, 2012
  • Distributor:Icon
  • Running time:93 minutes
  • Film Worth:$16.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

It’s not a perfect film, but it’s an inspired and unforgettable one that trumps imagination and invention over budget.

review image 7e490880395a6885e225.jpg.

This debut feature from New Orleans-based writer/director, Benh Zeitlin, is the year’s most talked-about American indie, winning major prizes at Sundance and Cannes, and near-universal acclaim. The ingenious story combines elements of apocalyptic fantasy and backwoods Americana: Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), live in an impoverished but spirited delta community called The Bathtub. When a massive storm cuts them off from the outside world, all of nature turns against civilisation, while her dad’s degrading physical and mental health creates a crisis of self-reckoning for Hushpuppy at a tender age.

It’s an impossible movie not to love – inspired, zany, explosively creative – but also flawed and frustratingly messy. The story lacks the internal logic crucial to fantasy; there’s often a childlike disconnect between the crazy plot twists and the characters’ inscrutable choices. Eight-year-old Wallis’ performance, however, is undeniable; she has extraordinary poise and grit. While some of her dialogue is a bit forced, the film’s rough style shines in the scenes of her rambling and running amok. The best moments are the seemingly improvised ones with Dwight Henry, filled with fierce affection and electricity, as Wink insists on toughening up his daughter to face a harsh world.

The production design is fabulous, with beautifully chaotic sets and Mad Max-like vehicles made of scrap parts. Some say that the film could do without the prehistoric monsters that come with the storm, but Zeitlin has established a milestone for indie filmmakers with his low budget but imaginative effects. Movie magic has been democratised. Beasts Of The Southern Wild is an unforgettable film, filled with piercing ideas and images, even if it doesn’t always have control of them.

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