Beasts of No Nation tells the story of Agu, a boy who is separated from his family in an unnamed, war-torn African country. He struggles for survival in the jungle until a nearby rebel militia takes him in. This is when young Agu begins his life as a violent soldier. It’s also when Beasts of No Nation becomes almost unbearable to watch, but you need to.
14-year-old Ghanaian, Abraham Attah, plays Agu with the ease of a seasoned actor. That’s astonishing considering he was a street vendor before this movie and had never acted a day in his life. Attah holds his own next to Idris Elba as well, who plays Agu’s brutal Commandant. This man starts off as a father figure and morphs into a nightmare, but Elba makes it a deceptively smooth transition. There’s already Oscar Buzz around his performance.
Beasts of No Nation might get a Best Picture or Best Director nomination when Oscar season rolls around, but you won’t see it in most theaters. That’s because Director Cary Fukanaga (True Detective Season 1) signed a deal with Netflix allowing them to carry the movie as soon as it opens in theaters. This upset many of the big theater chains so they’re refusing to show it.
I encourage you to seek out a theater that IS playing Beasts of No Nation though, because it’s powerful and deserves to be seen on the big screen. I have to warn you though, that it is exceedinly violent. There were times that I had to cover my eyes AND my ears, to drown out the screams and there was one mother-daughter scene that I’ll probably never forget. It’s important to watch though because Beasts of No Nation gives a face and a back-story to the terror that we see all over the world every single day. This is precisely how monsters are made. -A