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Like the very best psychological thrillers As Bestas is both an uneasy watch and a stupendously well-wrought piece of suspense you cannot turn your eyes away from.

From the very first scene it is evident that the protagonist of As Bestas, a French farmer trying his luck in the Spanish region Galicia, won't have the happiest of fates. That doesn't tap the suspense from the picture though, as you'll find yourself chewing your fingernails for the best part of 140 minutes.

As Bestas is based on real-life events but manipulates the facts smartly for dramatic effect. This allows the filmmakers to gradually draw you into a mindgame between the farmer and his neighbours that is as chillingly tense as it is emotionally gutwrenching.

The exquisite performance of Dénis Menochet, that won him the Spanish equivalent of the Oscar, is a further feather in the film's cap, as is a taut screenplay that is heavily influenced by Dutch eighties masterpiece The Vanishing yet still finds its own groove.

The movie saves the best for last though, as As Bestas deftly morphs from a fabulous psychological thriller into a touching tale of human resilience with Marina Foïs, equally spellbinding as Menochet, as its emotional core.

To make a long story short: As Bestas is one of the best Spanish movies in recent years and one of the finest films from any country I've seen this year.

release: 2022

director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen

starring: Dénis Menochet, Marina Foïs, Luis Zahera, Diego Anido


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