Thursday, November 26, 2015

Beasts of No Nation - Netflix Review

BEASTS OF NO NATION (R) Starring Abraham Attah and Idris Elba.
Written & directed by Cary Joji Fukunaka.


The country may be fictitious, but you can tell it borrows heavily from the quagmire of war-torn Congo. The story centers on Agu (Abraham Attah), a 12-year-old boy who sees his family slaughtered by government guards. He flees into the jungle, barely escaping his own execution, before he runs into Commandante (Idris Elba), a rebel leader with an army of young killers.

At first, Agu and his new brothers seem like they're fighting for a just cause, overthrowing the corrupt and murderous government. But soon enough, Commandante's true nature is revealed, and the boys are whipped into frenzies to commit worse and worse atrocities. There are no heroes; there are no good guys.

We witness the horrors of civil war through the eyes of Agu, and innocence is lost on a devastating scale. Newcomer Attah does an amazing job, which is significant since he has to share the screen with Elba, who might be doing his own career-best work.

This is all directed masterfully by Cary Joji Fukunaka (True Detective), and his camera work is on par with anything from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket. There's almost a poetry to the carnage.

This movie manages to sink into the bones of its audience. It makes the mentality of mass murder comprehensible, and therefore all the more disturbing. It goes to some dark, dark places; I don't think I can exaggerate how dark it gets.

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