Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 1 Average: 4/5]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast: Abraham Attah, Idris Elba, Kurt Egyiawan, Jude Akuwudike
Beasts of No Nation is a story about child soldiers and their plight fighting in a civil war. This Netflix original is based on the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala. Beasts of No Nation is a tragic yet beautiful tale about the effects of war through the eyes of a kid.
Agu (Abraham Attah) is the middle child of a teacher in a village in an unnamed African country. He is a mischievous kid and is full of innocence and creativity. He has a loving family consisting of both parents and an elder and a younger sibling. Their peace gets rocked when the government falls and the country plunges into a civil war. Agu’s mother escapes along-with Agu’s younger sibling while Agu along-with his father and brother are captured by the government forces. Father and brother are shot dead and in the ensuing melee Agu escapes into the jungle.
Some child soldiers of more or less Agu’s own age ambush him. They are led governed by the Commandant (Idris Elba). The commandant promises to make them men but in the process makes them rapists and murderers. The Commandant takes Agu under his wing and makes him his special pupil. He becomes a child soldier and along-with others, visits villages and plunders them. Slowly and steadily war changes Agu. He loses all his childish innocence and becomes a beast following orders and killing at his lords will. What happens to Agu, whether there is any coming back for him, forms the rest of the tragic plot.
Beasts of No Nation is cinematic brilliance. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga has used a contrasting style to bring out emotions against war. Every scene engages the audience and makes you think emotionally. One of the best scenes of the movie is when Agu sees a woman about to be raped and hugs her believing her to be his mother. Till that time the movie puts all its effort in convincing the audience that Agu is now a beast but in that fleeting second it shows that there is still some humanity left. Agu is the narrator of the movie and it is made in his vision. What he sees and feels, he shares.
One of the highlights of the movie is the message that war has no good sides. Beasts of No Nation beautifully equates the government which killed Agu’s family with the commandant who killed Agu’s childhood. Beasts of No Nation establishes that whatever side they may be on, deep down everyone in a uniform is a criminal. The movie teaches you how easy it is to corrupt a child’s mind. How easy it is to teach a child to kill and rape for the reward of food and affection. And, in the final act, the beasts outgrow their patriarch when the materialistic incentives stop.
Beasts of No Nation has two major characters- Agu and the Commandant. And both of them have given brilliant performances. Both are magnetic and you can’t shy away from them. Idris Elba is lovable, and hateful- he is everything he wants to be. Rarely have I come across a role which has every shade possible. Abraham Attah defies his age and deserves all the accolades he got for this role. His performance will melt your heart and will make you feel grateful for your own war-free childhood.
Beasts of No Nation is a wonderful movie that will leave a mark on you. Tragic indeed but it needs to be watched and admired. Watch the movie and share your ratings above.
Enjoy the Trailer: