Writer: Adam Hoelzel (Screenplay)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Grace Gummer, Pablo Schreiber, Robert Wisdom, Cesar Perez, David Joseph Martinez, Mark Smith
Plot: Sean Haggerty only has an hour to deliver his illegal cargo. An hour to reassure a drug cartel, a hitman, and the DEA that nothing is wrong. An hour to make sure his wife survives. And he must do it all from the cockpit of his Cessna.
Tagline – Lines are meant to be crossed.
Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Tensionless Thriller
Story: Beast of Burden starts with Sean (Radcliffe) flying his small plane from Mexico to America, he starts to receive a host of phone calls that explain why he is doing this mission, first it is his sick wife Jen (Gummer) to whom he is trying to get the money for her medical bills, we have the drug cartel of whose product he is carrying, the DEA agent Bloom (Schreiber) who believe he is carrying a package which will give him an new life and the mysterious Mallory (Wisdom) who is making sure the job is getting done.
AS Sean is flying the stakes get changed and he is left needing to try and make a decision, one he simply can’t make, needing to think fast can he figure out a way to save his wife and clear his name or will he just put one side of the mission above the rest?
Thoughts on Beast of Burden
Characters – Sean is an ex-military pilot, he has turned to doing illegal mission across the border, we see him on one of his missions which sees him trying to get out of this life, but needing to balance the authorities that are working with him, the cartel who want their product and his wife’s safety after she is held captive by a hitman. Sean only shows us his life through flashbacks as he is trapped in the plane needing to make his decision. The other characters only appear in flashbacks or over the phone, we have Jen who is Sean’s wife that has been through a tragic event with him, Bloom the DEA agent trying to give him a new life for some information and Mallory that has the same employer as Sean, making sure the job is done correctly.
Performances – Daniel Radcliffe isn’t the most convincing in this film, he seems to struggle with his American accent and shows too much panic in a situation that a pilot should show calmer decision-making. The supporting cast barely get a look in which doesn’t give them a chance to show their acting skills.
Story – The story here follows a pilot that is left with what seems like an impossible choice while on his latest mission, which as seen him working for the cartel and the DEA to try and give his wife a new life after they suffered a tragic event in their life. This story does try to capture the similar ideas of ‘Buried’ and ‘Locke’ which saw one character trying to sort out a difficult situation from a location they couldn’t just walk away from, only they stick in the flashbacks to show us everything that has happened, which only leaves us not needing to think about what his situation could be like and just spoon-feeding us how we are meant to feel.
Action/Crime – The action in the film is very basic, we don’t seem to get too involved with anything close up, leaving the action around the crime world that Sean has found himself in, which is cartels and agents battle over the drug trafficking.
Settings – If the film had remained in the plane for the whole film without the flashbacks, we would have had a better use of setting for the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a thriller that just doesn’t capture the magic in a bottle that other films with solo locations have used to their advantage in the past.
Overall: Disappointing thriller.