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“A terrific psychological thriller and a brooding, muscular piece of filmmaking.” – Wendy Ide, Screen. An intimate, haunting true-crime drama — part noir thriller, part social realism — set in a Galician farming village (the “wild west” of Spain), a region that’s as sweepingly idyllic as it is economically depressed. A bourgeois French couple, organic farmers, settles uneasily among the poor Spanish farmers who’ve struggled for generations to earn a living from this land. They clash over whether to sell their land to foreign interests who’ve offered fast money to develop wind power. Two glowering brothers, characters who seem to have stepped directly from the nastiest scenes in DELIVERANCE, take on the idealistic pair. On the surface there are victims and perpetrators, but the screenplay by Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña resists oversimplifying the complex dynamics of gentrification — the privilege of imposing progressive values and the tragedy of fear-turned-to-hate. Winner of 9 Goya Awards (Spain’s Oscar® equivalent), including Best Picture.

Presented with support from the Robert E. Appel Fund for Spanish and Portuguese Language Films



“An engrossing rural thriller by the Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen…a slow-burn saga of murder and vengeance that draws inspiration from DELIVERANCE and its crisis of masculinity… a piece of art-house realism as well as a nail-biter.”
– Beatrice Loayza, The New York Times

“A film of rare, if sometimes brutal, magnificence. Rodrigo Sorogoyen and [co-writer] Isabel Peña have crafted a film fraught with moral complications… Sorogoyen favors long takes and, praise be, his actors are up to the task… all of the cast members are excellent, and when the story takes a stark turn, [Marina] Foïs brings extra shades of fortitude and complexity to hold us enthralled.”
– Mario Naves, New York Sun

“[A] searing small-town thriller. Nail-biting…from its very first minute, this searing drama of rural strife, xenophobia and cultural hostility is filled with almost unbearable tension — a tension that boils over as Olga and Antoine clash with a pair of native-born brothers, Xan (Luis Zahera) and Lorenzo (Diego Anido), who live just down the street and have a major gripe with their new neighbors… Menochet, a bear of an actor whose eyes convey both world-weariness and explosive rage, doesn’t have to do much to up the suspense at every turn… The Galician locations are so inspiring that cinematographer Alejandro de Pablo often pulls back to shoot them in wide shots, capturing the rustic beauty behind which so many dark events unfold. The picturesque Spanish town looks like a great place to live, if it weren’t for the people.”
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] breathtakingly tense Galician thriller. Superbly acted. While the land may be fertile, it is drenched in bad blood… There’s a simmering, creeping menace to Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s superb, award-winning thriller, a sense of an inevitable collision… Sorogoyen uses long, single-take scenes to capture the explosive buildup of tension; it is a breathlessly compelling device that showcases the phenomenal quality of the acting. [Denis] Menochet brings a wounded-bear testiness to his performance, in contrast to [Luis] Zahera’s snapping, attack-dog fury. But it’s the magnificent [Marina] Foïs who carries the picture to its brutal conclusion.”
– Wendy Ide, The Observer (UK)

“A fierce, bitter tale with a flinty sharpness: partly a social-realist drama of class and xenophobia, and partly a rural noir, a Euro-arthouse twist on STRAW DOGS or DELIVERANCE.”
 – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)

“This is a clash of the Titans… though a hulking giant, Antoine [Denis Menochet] is armed only in the digicam (for gathering evidence), while Lorenzo [Diego Anido] carries a rifle, and Xan [Luis Zahera] drawls and spits with the drunken menace of Bob Ewell in Robert Mulligan’s 1962 film TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD…Yet even as THE BEASTS flirts with genre, it also remains largely true to the real-life case from which it is drawn.”
  – Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

“A coiled snake of a Spanish thriller. One of the year’s tensest movie scenes occurs midway through THE BEASTS and it boasts no (physical) violence, no (overt) threats, and no (satisfactory) resolution... Shot in a single long, static take at night, the shadows on these figures’ faces echoing their darkening rapport and the exchange’s duration amplifying its anxiety, it’s a confrontation that’s as expertly written as it is performed. Its characters’ fear and fury are so intense, the scene practically trembles...By avoiding easy black-and-white characterizations and drama, [Sorogoyen] enriches his scenario, transforming it from a simple good-vs-evil, rural-vs-urban tale into a hostile clash of cultures, beliefs and goals, as well as of two hard-headed individuals unwilling to compromise...It’s a controlled and concise pot-boiler of stresses and strains that nobody is capable of managing, much less quelling, and in the superb performances of its leads—including Foïs, whose stone-faced countenance reflects Olga’s trepidation, antipathy, and resolve—it becomes a small-scale tragedy about arrogant intolerance and self-centeredness.”
– Nick Schager, Daily Beast

“[A] gripping art house thriller… a deeply uncomfortable portrait of everyday evil that’s all the more terrifying for being true. It helps that Sorogoyen has found the year’s best villain in longtime collaborator [Luis] Zahera, who transforms himself into a hostile creature, glowering at Antoine and taunting him with insults over a nerve-racking game of dominoes … and every subsequent time their paths cross. Zahera’s menacing body language...establishes a sense of dread so acute and pervasive it can be hard for audiences to breathe at times…THE BEASTS reflects a form of violence that isn’t at all rare in the real world, however seldom it may be depicted in the movies: when your new neighbors turn out to be a nightmare.”
– Peter Debruge, Variety

“[An] unusually thoughtful Spanish noir. The sharp contrast between two ways of thinking—with the newcomer being the one resolute on sticking to old-fashioned ways, and the long-term residents eager to abandon everything they know and plunge into a new technology—makes an unusually thoughtful foundation for a noir thriller, and the sinister brothers imbue the film with more and more dread as it goes on... In balancing the two sides’ competing motives, Mr. Sorogoyen has fashioned not only a taut drama but a parable that is widely applicable across many cultures at this moment. The word ‘gentrification' hovers unspoken over everything, in a fascinatingly unexpected way: What if upscale newcomers wanted to preserve the land and the deep-rooted old-timers wanted to despoil it with windmills? Who has the stronger claim?”
– Kyle Smith, The Wall Street Journal

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