Shooting on 16-millimetre film, the camera swings and weaves through all of this - sometimes it's as drunk as the locals - and wherever it alights, there's the sense of a living world in the rubbish and animal pens, shanty bars and salvaged vehicles. The trend in US independent cinema has been towards minimalism and empathetic quietness - actors improvising in a room at the level of the Mumblecore movement - but Beasts flies in the face of that. It's expansive, engaging and sometimes overwhelming.
With the polar ice caps melting, prehistoric creatures are roaming the land and their imminent arrival plays like the signal for a conclusion, although that's not how Hushpuppy sees it. American culture is laced with images of children communing with nature, and Hushpuppy memorably furthers a lineage that includes Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn; if there's no land, she'll just sail away
Read the whole thing at the Sydney Morning Herald.