Movie Review – Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Stars: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah

Beasts of No Nation follows the journey of a child soldier, who ends up joining a rebel army after his family is killed. He fears his commander and the men around him, as well as the idea that he will never be the same again.

This film has been getting a lot of buzz since it was released on Netflix, and rightly so, but not everyone is going to like it because it is raw and visceral. The country in the film is unnamed, and sadly the circumstances and events in the film can be applied to more than one country. The film starts off with a light tone, even humorous, but it quickly devolves into a brutal examination of childhood and what it means to grow up in an army.

Given the subject matter there are some harrowing scenes and it’s not going to be for everyone, although there is some obvious editing in some places where you see the seams of the film. Other than the direction is good. It keeps the focus on Agu, but it does delve a little bit into the politics of the war, in as much as Agu would be aware of it anyway. It’s a compelling film to watch this young boy learn how to be a soldier, how his idea of adulthood and masculinity is framed by those around him.

It’s not going to be for everyone, but it’s deserving of the plaudits it has been getting.

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