Socialist Worker

Beast Beast—growing up and shattered innocence in a US suburb

by Blythe Taylor
Issue No. 2753

Aspiring YouTube star Adam is drawn into the world of the far right, in Beast Beast

Aspiring YouTube star Adam is drawn into the world of the far right, in Beast Beast


Set in a suburban American town, Beast Beast brings together the lives of three young people in what feels like a long hazy summer, coming-of-age drama.

Krista, a talented and high-spirited drama student, is sexually harassed by another student at a party while police storm the house.

Shirley Chen gives a brilliant performance as Krista, one which is lively and thoughtful.

Skateboarder Nito finds himself in a circle of stoner friends who egg him into petty crimes, exploiting his talents to cause trouble.

In the meantime, a love interest develops between him and Krista, with moments that capture beautifully the innocence of young romance.

The film begins as a look into the lives of seemingly typical teenagers, from drama lessons, family tensions and aspirations of YouTube stardom. Their stories progress into a tragedy which unforgivingly binds their lives together.

Menacing

A sense of suspense and energy is maintained through a soundtrack of chimes and lone menacing drum beats.

Adam, an aspiring YouTube star, struggles as his parents question his increasing isolation, concerned that the people he is socialising with are “fanatics”.

The film never directly refers to what kind of fanaticism. But we can assume this character is already deeply caught up in the world of the alt-right.

In his bedroom studio with a backdrop of assorted guns and assault rifles, Adam is desperate to rack up YouTube views.

Through a twist of tragedy, he finally receives the approval and adoration of those heralding him as their hero.

The film explores how young people’s experiences are inescapably shaped by gun culture in the US and the pressures of social media popularity.

Available now for download on digital platforms

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