Hello out there internet! I hope you are having a great New Year’s Eve, unless you are reading this somewhere that has already reached the new year in which case, Happy New Year! Well, I did it, I finished my own movie challenge for the year. My final challenge was to watch a movie that helps you see the world with a different perspective. For this part of the challenge I watched the gripping film Beasts of No Nation. There will be some mild spoilers below so fair warning for that.
Beasts of No Nation tells the story of Agu, a young boy who is thrown into a war far outside of his control. It starts with him doing things typical of a young boy. He plays games with his friends, doesn’t really enjoy school, plays pranks on his brother and is overall a good kid. He might be a bit mischievous but he doesn’t do anything terrible. The film escalates quickly as government soldiers come and kill a bunch of people in his town. Pretty soon Agu is separated from his family, his older brother and father are killed and he ends up wandering in the jungle.
Agu is then recruited into a sort of guerrilla army made up of mostly child soldiers. Idris Elba plays the Commandant of these rebel forces. He expects these child soldiers to kill anyone he deems an enemy and brutally kills people himself. Agu obviously doesn’t have much choice but to join up. Things continue to get terrible through the rest of the film for Agu and his fellow child soldiers.
Idris Elba, as usual puts in an incredible performance but the stand out star has to be Abraham Atta who plays Agu with a touching and personal performance that is outstanding. We’re with Agu from start to finish in this film and you simply can’t look away.
The film is gripping, heartbreaking, terrifying, and yet somehow hopeful. The movie helped me see the world with a different perspective. It’s not like I didn’t know about child soldiers being a huge problem in war torn countries but this film personalizes it in a way that I think only film can. It’s this kind of film that makes us remember why we have a need to tell stories. The fact that it is a fictional story doesn’t take away any of the truth of it.