Take a Drink: whenever something awful happens on-screen
Take a Drink: every time Agu is forced to do something fucked up.
Do a Shot: to ease the depression this movie is inflicting on you.
Take a Drink: every time Idris Elba does something messed up.
Do a Shot: for rescuing child soldiers.
By: Frankie B. (A Toast) –
This is a movie that had a ton of hype behind it and I bought in to every bit of it. It stars Idris Elba, so there was the first thing that made me want to see it. Then we have Cary Fukunaga, the director of the first season of True Detective, handling the directing duties. These two things combined to make this a must-see movie, even though I knew it was probably going to be super fucked up, as it is about child soldiers in Africa.
Beasts of No Nation follows a young boy, Agu (Abraham Attah), who lives in a rural village in Western Africa. When war begins to break out, he goes into hiding with his father and brother, but is quickly left to fend for himself. He encounters Commandant (Idris Elba) and his band of young rebel fighters, and soon joins their ranks. What follows from that point on will change Agu’s life forever.
First things first, Idris Elba straight up owns this movie. He gives one of the year’s most captivating performances, and molds a horrible individual into someone who is pretty likable, except for all of the murder and rape. How is this dude not one of the top dogs in Hollywood at this point? Also, if he is not cast as the next James Bond, then there is something out of whack in the universe. Abraham Attah also does a commendable job as Agu, our lens for this story. We see his journey from being a sweet innocent boy to a hardened soldier, to something in between in the end. His performance is really special considering this is one of his first acting roles.
This movie also happens to be beautifully shot by the current master of cinematography, Cary Fukunaga. He is, in my opinion, the best in the business currently at making beautifully fucked up pieces of cinema. True Detective was the first time he really displayed his talents to the wide world, and this was the evolution of his craft. Every shot is beautiful in its own way, and even the brutal scenes of violence are majestic in their own right. I might have picked a slightly less depressing topic to cover if I were him, but to each their own.
Holy shit, this movie is relentlessly depressing. Not that I would expect anything less from a movie about child soldiers, but anything awful that could happen definitely happens in this. People are maimed, murdered, and raped for pretty much no reason. Children are forced to become cold-blooded murderers, and we see the evil men that are there every step of the way to exploit them. If you weren’t aware of the horrific things going on in Africa, this movie is going to shove them in your face and make sure you never forget them.
9.9/10 are going to watch this on Netflix, but it is also worth mentioning that you might want to catch this in theaters while you can. A truly special movie, with great performances, and a showcase for one of the great young directors in Hollywood.