Sean (Daniel Radcliffe) is flying a small plane which contains illegal products. Sean is under the pump as he only has one hour to convince multiple people that he can make a successful drop. Naturally, Sean encounters many issues along the way.
It’s no secret that since Harry Potter, actor Daniel Radcliffe has picked some exciting film projects to work in. These projects generally show the actor’s real ability and talent, but it kills me to say that the Beast of Burden is not one of these projects! This is simply a film that tries to be a thriller, but to my disappointment, this film fails on every single level.
As a plot, Sean is seated in an aeroplane for the majority of the film, taking phone calls from his unwell wife, drug dealers, insurance companies all on his headset and thanks to the use of the plane’s wifi. At times we are also given brief flashbacks which are intended to give reason and purpose for the audience to care for Sean and his unwell wife. The problem here is firstly the relationship between Sean, and his wife feels unbelievable and weak on screen. How Sean got to the position he’s in is well; it’s not even relevant to the main plot.
Other elements to increase suspense are issues with the plane such lack of fuel and even having Sean fly during a terrible storm. These are some examples of some of the things that feel way over the top. If you were operating a plane in a storm wouldn’t that require your complete attention so you could fly safely- would you make phone calls as well? Mr, I don’t think so!
Sean’s problems throughout the film feel incredibly forced and cheesy. Sean also has an unusual habit of speaking to himself to fill in the gaps of no dialogue, which again feels over the top. Ultimately I never cared for anyone in this film, not even for a single moment. The film isn’t able to give me a reason to care, not one.
Beast of Burden is a very bland and dull looking film. Thankfully I viewed this film during the night but day time watchers would more than likely be frustrated. Clouds and smoke are also a continual visual add on as Sean flies his plane. But even during flashbacks, there’s nothing positive visually about this film or the film’s soundtrack.
Overall, this film is a massive surprise to me because, in the end, I was left feeling so disappointed. It’s a film that tries to deliver suspense but crashes at every opportunity. Characters are also unbelievable, flat & painful to watch to the point I couldn’t get invested during the film’s duration. As for the plot, it’s a snail ride to the credits. Daniel Radcliffe is far better than this, and his direction here is wasted.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden