Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Length: 2 hrs, 17 mins
Starring: Abraham Attah | Edris Elba | Emmanuel Affadzi | Ricky Adelayitor
About: A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.
This is going to be a simple review although this is not a simple movie. When I heard about Beasts of No Nation, I was excited about it because Idris Elba was going to play a character in the movie and I have to take that back (but not so much because ya’ll know I love me some of that man!)...I take it back because I had no idea the movie would have such an impact on me and really the character Mr. Elba plays has little to do with this move. I mean he does as his character affects the young boys and men around him, their actions. But its not about him or his character, this movie is about Agu, a child soldier. This movie is about all of the child soldiers like Agu we hear about but know nothing of at all.
I don’t want to give spoilers for the folks that have not watched this film as of yet. But I will tell you that this is a heavy, deep and oh so very emotional drama. It follows Agu as he loses his family in war and becomes one of the many soldiers under “Commandant” played by Mr. Elba. You watch in muted horror and dismay the reality these young boys and men have to face as they are given no choices. It was either become a soldier or die. The violence is unspeakable and heartbreaking. You watch as they become desensitized to death and the very world around them.
The boys are taking advantage of by many and mainly by the men who they come to look up to as father figures. I can never fathom what goes on in wars that young children have to deal with on a daily basis, my children will never know it either. But after watching Beasts of No Nation, I pray to God that we will never have to face it. Because any child or adult that lives through THAT and comes away from it with their mind, body and very soul intact is nothing short of amazing. I can remember always telling my son “You think you have it hard, take a look at some of these children around the world faced with nothing”. Shit, I’m making him watch the movie this weekend. You upset because you couldn’t get the latest whatever. Look at what these boys have to face just to eat!
The acting is superb and Mr. Elba is the only “known” star you will see in Beasts of No Nation. But again, this movie is not about him. The young man that played Agu, give him the Oscar this year...he deserves it. The scenery is telling, you are there for everything. You feel the terror of the victims, the menace of the perpetrators, the despair of everyone.
I’ve seen some reviews where folks are complaining about why wasn’t a country in Africa named, why this and why that? I just shake my head. Because I don’t think this director wanted that. I think he wanted anonymity in certain things AGAIN because, I believe he wanted you to focus on these young boys. Their situations, what they have to deal with when given no other options, when they lose so much and gain so very little.
I was an emotional mess while watching this. You see most movies like this and you think “oh lawd, they gonna Hollywood it up”. I can’t say they did that here, there is no glamorization of anything at all. It’s all ugly and after watching, you sitting there thinking...just “damn”. To see this from a child's perspective is...I don't even have the words, I just don't. But I will tell you this, after watching Beasts of No Nation, it will be a movie you'll never forget. It will stay with you.
This movie is about War and it's effects on the people surrounded by it both Adults and Children. This movie is about Agu, a child soldier and his experiences while at war. It’s worth seeing.
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