“A boy is a dangerous thing ” – The Commandant
Beasts Of No Nation tells the story of Agu, who flees his home deep into the forest after he is separated from his mother and his sister, while his father and brother are executed by Government forces. What follows is a journey from ‘good boy from a good family’, to a loose canon, a soldier and a beast. All at once.
One thing that is most striking about this movie is this; the movie director, Cary Fukunga, was clearly not trying to impress anyone. It doesn’t have all that cliché “African tragedy” soundtrack. Neither does it feel like a ‘Hollywood’ attempt to tell an African story, no white saviours to lead us to the light.
And with the movie based on a novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala, it is authentic through and through.
The story is ruthless in its portrayal of the child soldier and yet still finds a way to hold on tightly to the sometimes innocent nature of the children.
The movie does not set out to stir our emotions with all those mush traps, or make us choose between good and bad guys, it shows us one thing; war is about the living and the dead.
As for how ‘The Commandant’ Idris Elba, and his mostly amateur but highly talented co-actors interpreted their characters? Oscar material.
The scenes feel like a high –almost dreamlike, dizzy, but real. A hallucination.
Like when the boy commits his first murder, and how his hands are shaky at first, and his jaw tightens, and resolve fills his eyes, and his hands are steady and he drops the machete, again, and again, and again.
This movie shows the gritty and depressing nature of war from the eyes of a child soldier. It is a highly rewarding movie to see as much as it is a necessary piece of African storytelling.
Check cinemas near you for viewing times.