REVIEW: Beasts of No Nation

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Beasts of No Nation tells about a Civil War in an unnamed African country through the eyes of a young boy named Agu. Who after seeing his family murdered, is forced to become a child soldier.

Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Season One), Beasts of No Nation has no sympathy for the viewer, nor does the camera conveniently turn away at the brutality of war. It’s truly haunting to see the life of this young boy, Agu (Abrham Attah), being forced to become a “warrior” like so many other boys before him. Based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, Fukunaga adapts this film well. Hell, he almost lost his life during this film after catching Malaria. But what really makes this film is not so much the incredible story, but the fantastic cast of characters.

Idris Elba (Luther) gives a remarkable performance as the commandant, or the warlord of the rebel army, who takes Agu under his wing and forms him into this “vicious warrior.” I haven’t seen Elba this good in a long time. His performance as the commandant is raw and invigorating.  When the brutality of war appears on screen, Elba is almost too good to turn away from. There is almost a heroic characteristic that Elba gives this ruthless man. But it is the performance of newbie Attah that really makes this movie. As the film falls on the shoulders of this young boy, this is probably the best child performance I have seen in a few years.

Beasts of No Nations is disturbingly beautiful. In a time when so many films are either beautiful to watch, or have they have a good story line, this film hits both points on target.

Written & Directed by: Cary Fukunaga 

Starring: Idris Elba and Abraham Attah

Rating: A

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