Hobbledehoy perennial favorite Johnny Flynn has been a very busy man over these past several months, starring in his popular Netflix comedy series Lovesick as well as in critically-acclaimed film Beast (recently released in the US.) Johnny also found time to perform on the Broadway stage in Martin McDonaugh’s latest play The Hangman.
As for his music, Johnny and his band The Sussex Wit are to be performing at Barclaycard British Summer Time 2018 in London, UK. (opening for and then supporting headliner Paul Simon on July 15th).
So – what have you been doing lately?
Here’s our Johnny singing the theme song of the wonderful Brit tv series Detectorists.
Arresting lead performances give this British psychological thriller an alluringly dangerous sexual energy.
At first it comes on like a grim version of Sixteen Candles: a young, flame-haired woman flees her house after being upstaged at her own birthday party (where her older sister makes a happy announcement, with perfect malicious timing), then gets tipsy at a club and ends up with a dodgy boy who turns out to be a creep. Life is almost comically frustrating for Moll (Jessie Buckley), but Beast is no John Hughes scenario. Moll’s not a teenager anymore, and her stunted existence—she lives with her parents and helps tend a father with dementia—is shadowed by a troubling incident from her past.
Beast, which played during the first week of SIFF, is Michael Pearce’s feature writing/directing debut. The beast stalking the Isle of Jersey—that small enclave of Englishness just off the coast of France—has already killed a handful of people, including a victim slain the night of Moll’s birthday. Pearce rolls out the story as a whodunit, scattering a few viable suspects around—but Moll’s family, and the police, think the main candidate is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), the rough, scar-faced young man who came to Moll’s rescue the night she ran away. Moll and Pascal, both cast out by society, rush toward each other as though magnetized. She knows he could be the killer, but after having been surrounded by dullards on a small island all her life, the intoxication of their chemistry overwhelms her. When an insinuating police officer (Trystan Gravelle) interrogates Moll and asks whether her sex life with Pascal has been out of the ordinary, she contemptuously replies, “It’s not ordinary. It’s amazing.”
This is mad love, always rich turf for the movies. We see Moll taking dangerous risks on Pascal’s account, and we worry about her, but we also sense her exhilaration. The premise is a little like Nicholas Ray’s great film noir In a Lonely Place (1950), where we watch Humphrey Bogart begin a romance with Gloria Grahame while he’s under suspicion for murder—except that Beast shows us the dynamic from the female perspective. Pearce adds a sinister undercurrent: Moll, after all, must herself be considered one of the suspects.
I wish Beast fulfilled all its early promise, but it stumbles toward the end, and its caricature of domestic asphyxiation seems a little canned—did Moll’s mother (ably played by Geraldine James) have to be quite such a brittle harridan? The movie is memorable, though, because of the two lead performances. The Irish-born Buckley has seen success in longform TV shows like Taboo and BBC’s War and Peace, while Flynn is a musician and actor, perhaps best known as the youthful version of Albert Einstein in Genius. They’re mesmerizing. When movie stars are cast as misfits, it can produce unconvincing results (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny). No such problem here. Buckley and Flynn are both arresting—and it’ll be surprising if their careers don’t take off—but they don’t come across like stars. They look as though they’d stepped out of the pages of an old folk tale hatched from an insular island culture like Jersey’s: two phantom spirits, not entirely to be trusted.
Jessie Buckley has made her mark in British theater, but “Beast” points to a promising future in film.
“I have had a massive meander in my life,” Jessie Buckley says. The Irish actress, 28, is sitting in a booth at the Ace Hotel here, preparing to head to the set of “Judy,” which she’s shooting alongside Renée Zellweger. “I quite enjoy the meander,” she adds. “There’s so much that’s there to explore and have an adventure with.”
Buckley got her start in theater, doing everything from musicals to Shakespeare, and had a jazz singing career for several years in London before being cast as Marya Bolkonskaya in the 2016 miniseries “War & Peace.” Since then, the actress appeared in FX’s “Taboo” and shot several upcoming TV series and films, including a BBC adaptation of “The Woman In White” and “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle” (in which she portrays Queen Victoria opposite Robert Downey Jr. as the title character) [ . . . ]
Murder mysteries have been done to death. There’s an unknown killer, a sharp or drunk detective, and an area filled with clues and suspects. Although the genre is entertaining, the formula is exhausted. But in the debut feature from Jersey-born filmmaker Michael Pearce, Beast cuts that formula apart and sticks it back together in weird […]
Jessie Buckley from Taboo and Johnny Flynn from Genius star in this romantic thriller about a subdued woman on an isolated island community who falls for a stranger, who may be a murderer.
One of the more intriguing films that played on the festival circuit last year was Michael Pearce’s feature film debut BEAST, which premiered at Toronto and played Sundance and a few other festivals. 30East and Roadside Attractions picked up the rights to distribute the British crime-thriller with plans to release it on May 11, and they’ve released the first trailer.
It stars Jessie Buckley (Taboo) as Moll, a 27-year-old woman still living an isolated existence with her mother on an island community, who meets an exciting stranger named Pascal (Johnny Flynn from Genius) who she falls in love with, not realizing his dark past. When he’s arrested and charged for a series of local murders, Moll has to decide whether to stand with him against the accusations.
I generally liked Beast when I saw it, and I’ll be interested to see how it plays here, because in some ways, it’s very British, but it’s also more subdued then the typical crime-thriller with a romance angle.
You can check out the trailer below and see if you think it’s your cup of tea.