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Daniel Radcliffe in Beast of Burden (2018)Review

Beast of Burden (Crime, Drama) (2018)


Director: Jesper Ganslandt

Writer: Adam Hoelzel

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Grace Gummer, Pablo Schreiber, Cesar Perez

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Beast of Burden starts us off in a rickety old plane with the main character Sean (Daniel Radcliffe) getting in radio contact with several people, and It soon becomes clear that Sean Haggerty is in quite a troublesome situation, as he’s a drug mule, flying large amounts of an unspecified drug from Mexico to the USA.

It’s quite a risky scenario which Sean incapably handles under duress. Through flashbacks, we find out that the reason he’s in this predicament is his sick wife who has no idea what her husband is doing or where he is. With the tension ever-increasing, Sean has to complete this drug run dealing with a large number of people. The Cartel, The DEA, his wife Jen (Grace Gummer) and another party later introduced. Deals have been made with the DEA, and they’re able to make sure Sean’s wife Jen gets all the medical care she needs after moving to a safe location where the Cartel can’t find them, as long as Sean delivers the illegal contraband to them and not the stateside Cartel members.

In a continuously stressful series of phone calls, we see the main character mentally breakdown, handling the situation as good as he can at the moment and in the position he is in, balancing the deals he’s making with all involved parties. Almost all the scenes are shot in a small Cessna aircraft used as a pressure cooker for our main character. A setting of just one small location and a single character. A restrictive setting like this can easily make or break the movie, and the viewer needs to be fully engaged and interested in a charismatic main character for said viewer to stay interested and keep watching. Beast of Burden might manage this for some with the tense backdrop and the unravelling of the main character’s mind, but due to the lacking script, many will most likely turn away in the first thirty minutes. While watching many ideas came to mind, of how they could improve upon the story adding more exciting elements, making the main character more approachable for the viewer as well as the script as it is, just appears bland and illogical—a stain on Radcliffe’s promising post-Potter career that he can hopefully wash off soon.

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Beast of Burden is the right title for the film as it’s a burden on the viewer to even get through this movie.