DVD Review: Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Beasts Of The Southern Wild is supposed to be a fantastic film about a defiant community living on a forgotten bayou, told through the imaginative eyes of six year old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) who lives there with her father.
Yes I said, “supposed to be”. And so now you should all understand that for me, Beasts Of The Southern Wild was not fantastic. Disturbingly disappointing would probably be my two word catch-phrase for the film after seeing it on DVD. But then to some degree it comes down to perspective.
The real problem with Beasts for me, is that no one seems to be framing it in the reality of what they would do if Hushpuppy lived down their street. Living in a rusty, leaking, ramshackle trailer, with an abusive and alcoholic (and terminally ill) father, one would hope that someone would have called CYF’s a long time ago. Add to this that Hushpuppy’s father is also absent for much of the time and she has to fend for herself, which includes resorting to eating pet food, and you can hopefully see why a father like myself would struggle to see Beasts and a fantastic film.
But hey, it’s only a film, a flight of fancy, an entertaining night in.
And here lies the second problem with Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Just like Hushpuppy’s shack, it’s a muddle of junk with no real focus. The film begins life being a look at life in Bathtub, the Bayou where Hushpuppy resides, but then it becomes a story about her sick father, then it becomes an ecological tale of nature balancing it’s self, then a look at a community split and facing a storm, then it becomes a journey to find a lost mother.
If Beasts had been a serious look at the effects of poverty in low lying Bayou communities and a call to action to help preserve these communities whilst giving them the assistance they require, all the better. Or flip it to the other extreme and have it be a rip off of Where The Wild Ones Are – which it does try and be at one point. But to squash it all together with no real direction or destination, and Beasts becomes an unpalatable mess.
M Violence and horror.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read