“Beasts Of The Southern Wild” is like no other movie I have seen this year. I am not even quite sure I followed the story from start to finish. It is mostly a harrowing drama about a community called the Bathtub, which is way below the poverty line, as the inhabitants try to survive a violent storm. There are also fantasy elements that I didn’t fully understand including a series of fearsome creatures that are headed on a collision course with the main characters.
Hushpuppy is a strong willed little girl who lives with Wink, her father. They live in a self built shack that is no match for the looming hurricane. Together they make their way across a land that is slowly being swallowed up by water.
The biggest surprise to me was about half way through when I realized that the Bathtub, which is a fictional place, is actually located on the edge of New Orleans. The town is displayed with vivid imagery and raw and unflinching realism. The community is full of citizens who have lived there for generations. Their way of life is unique yet harsh.
To describe the story and the events in the usual sense would be difficult. It is a movie that must be experienced. As I mentioned earlier I thought that I didn’t fully understand it. As I reflect on my viewing I started to realize that it is a movie that doesn’t need to be understood. It is about the experience and the imagery.
As for the fantasy elements you can make of those what you will. I believe they were a metaphor for how these people see the outside world but i’m still not really sure.
The film was written and directed by Benh Zeitllin. This is his first feature film. I wonder if he has seen any films by Malick or even some of David Gordon Green’s earlier films. “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” reminded me a bit of their works. It is a bold and unique film.