Review: Beasts of No Nation

Child. Solider. Killer.

In an unnamed country in Africa, Agu (Abraham Attah) is just a regular boy, trying to think of interesting ways to make money for his family. He has a loving home life, even though his country is on a brink of a civil war.Until the fighting ends up in his town. His family is separated, then murdered right in front of him. He runs, but is stopped by the rebels, lead by Commandant (Idris Elba) who force him to become a soldier. 

A film like this is brutal, and watching Agu go from such a carefree child into a murderer is heartbreaking. We're treated to voice overs every now and then, with Agu praying to God, at first helplessly, then almost as if he's trying to convince himself that this is the whole way. Attah gives one of the best performances of any child actor I've ever seen. Beasts is going to have a rough way to the Oscars as it is, but they should focus on him, because he truly deserves it. He over shadows everyone else, including Elba, who unfortunately is very miscast here. It was painfully obvious that he was the only one using a fake accent, and his true one kept trying to creep forward. Luckily it's Attah that is tasked with carrying the film.

It's nice to see Cary Joji Fukanaga back in action. After he expertly shot the first season of True Detective, he's back again as not only the director but the cinematographer as well. The film does suffer from pacing problems, especially towards the end. It starts to feel repetitive and and almost a little aimless. However it still deserves to be seen for Fukanaga, and Attah alone.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "It's an imagination TV." - Agu (Abraham Attah)


12 comments:

  1. I really want to see this because it's been getting fairly polarizing reviews from the people who seen it - the only thing everyone agrees on is that the kid is good :) But even 'Amy' looks too bleak for me atm so it may be a while before I see it.

    Great review!

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    1. This is very bleak, but it's worth seeing because Attah is so phenomenal. I'm just a bit disappointed in Idris because he's normally so good.

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  2. GURL...Elba was a FORCE here and his accent work was flawless.

    Check it!

    LOL, I loved this. Like, the aimlessness was so key to the tone and thematic nature of the film and fleshing out just how aimless it really was for the rebel forces and child soldiers, strung along by greed and the corrupt nature of power. Attah is brilliant.

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    1. Man, I love me some Idris. LOVE, but he was far from the top of his game here. lol

      I like what you said about the aimlessness, that does make sense, but it dragged a bit for me. Still, good film, and Attah needs an Oscar nomination.

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  3. i have heard good things about this movie but it does sound so depressing because it is often true. I have to be in the right frame of mind to see this

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    1. It's very depressing and kind of horrifying.

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  4. Plan on giving this one a watch this weekend. Been hearing good things about it, this review included.

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  5. Hmmm i was left so unaffected by this one, despite my love fir Cary. I agree about the pacing too

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that didn't get as much out of it as they thought, but I still enjoyed it overall.

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  6. Attah is, indeed, incredible, but I also love Elba. The film is pretty great, too.

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    1. I wish Attah would've gotten an Oscar nomination. He deserved it.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.