Beasts of No Nation is directed by Cary J. Fukunaga, director of first season of True Detective and Jane Eyre, who film after film proving that he can become a great director deserving more trust in bigger projects. Beasts is another attention worthy work of his and by no means underestimate the potential of this movie just because it is distributed by Netflix and is released in only limited theaters. Although the movie is fictional, it is obviously based on and influenced by terrible life circumstances and war situations prominent in many poor African countries. The movie is brutal, violent, tragic and bloody. It is not aiming to a broader audience but is made to present the real life events to people who will seek this kind of truthful depiction of happenings in Africa. Therefore Netflix is the perfect place for this movie to land because the possibility of people to want to check it out on their account when the movie is available for free is definitely more than in the theater, where it would be competing with Star Wars or some other mainstream blockbuster movie, leaving it no chance to be seen.
First of all I would like to bring the attention to the acting of Abraham Attah, who is portraying the antihero Agu. This kid's acting is so believable and real that the movie feels more like a documentary than a fictional story. First we see him living a full happy life surrounded with family and friends. He is playing a normal kid growing up, although in a very poor circumstances but still there is hope and light. And then the war begins. He loses his parents and brothers and is lucky himself to have escaped and stayed alive. Though now he has to carry the burden of his family being non-existent in the world he is continuing to live. That's when he is being recruited by Commandant, played brilliantly by Idris Elba, into his army of child soldiers forming a rebellion. From then on Agu's life completely changes and he will never think the same way about people as he would before.
Fukunaga has chosen to depict the war in a very saddle way. There is a lot of conversations and walking and observing the surroundings. We see the war mostly through Agu's child eyes and we see how his vision changes as he is more and more sucked by that monster war. Fukunaga gives time to the viewer as well to try to digest the pain and brutality and injustice seen constantly on the screen. There are very picturesque, colorful scenes of war that make the movie look more poetic in a way. Cinematography is beautiful and long continuous, choreographed shots make the experience even more visceral and real.
The only problem that I had with the movie is the third act. I will not spoil anything, but the ending felt very forced to me. It didn't seem reasonable if you consider what had happened until the third act. Although I don't hate the ending and I can understand that something like that could happen, but if you are making a movie that you want to have a stronger impact and have stronger message, a lot depends on the third act, which seemed weaker at the end.
If you have seen the movie, let me and others know in the comment section what your thoughts are about it? How would you rate the movie?