The continent of Africa has beautiful scenery, wonderful wildlife, and a magnificent culture that dates back to our earliest history. However, today hate and war that have spread throughout countries of Africa, affecting both men, women, and children. “Beasts of No Nation,” directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, has shown the impact of these wars. The film has been released in selected theatres and is available on Netflix.
The story focuses around a young West African boy named Agu (Abraham Attah). When war is at his town’s doorstep, his father (Kobina Amissah-Sam) sends his mother (Ama K. Abebrese) and younger sister (Vera Nyarkoah Antwi) away in a bus. While Agu, his father, and older brother (Francis Weddey) try to escape the town when the invading army attacks, Agu’s father and brother are shot and killed. Agu must flee into the neighboring forest. Eventually, he is found by a rebel army and is trained as as a soldier when the Commander (Idris Elba) takes interest in him. With Agu now a trained child soldier, him and the rebel army head toward the capital to take on the force that is killing innocent African lives.
The film itself is powerful in that it isn’t scared to show how dreadful and brutal the wars in African countries are. One scene shows this perfectly is when Agu is forced by the commander to kill a man with a machete as another child joins in. Agu’s narration alongside the film relates to God and his faith, showing how conflicted his mind is when he is killing people for the cause of war, and giving the audience a peer into what goes on within a child soldier’s mind.
The music in the film has a lot of African children chanting to different beats giving off an innocence that can be heard throughout the movie, almost like it is mocking it. While most of the film relies on dialogue and imagery, there are some scenes that have orchestral scores causing them to be more memorable and impactful.
While the film has a lot of good qualities going for it, there are a couple of issues with the film. In the beginning segment of the movie, there is a lot of switching between English and African language with subtitles. While this shows how cultural the film is, it can also be confusing to some viewers, and after the beginning the rest of the movie is mostly English. Another issue is the lack of access to the film as it is only in a few selected theatres, and for anyone with a Netflix account. By doing this, the film has a narrower amount of viewers and might not get as much praise due to the lack of views.
“Beasts of No Nation,” while being a dramatic and impactful war film, can be hard for some people to watch as there is a lot of gore, violence, and harsh topics brought up. However, it is a good film for individuals to watch to educate themselves on the events that have been taking place on the African continent. This movie gets a 4.6/5.