On Netflix and in theaters, Beasts of No Nation follows, Agu, a young boy who is torn from his family during the onset of civil war in an unnamed West African country. Agu must fight for survival, both physically and mentally as he looses his family, his friends, and his innocence. Based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, Beast of No Nation features strong performances by Abraham Attah as Agu and Idris Elba (Luther) as the charismatic and damaged Commandant.
Beast of No Nation explores the horrors of young boys being indoctrinated into war by fighting as grown men. Directed and written by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, True Detective), the film begins by cleverly inviting viewers to enter Agu’s innocent adolescent world as he and his friends attempt to sell an empty TV set to a soldier which they playfully call an “imagination TV”—it almost feels as if Netflix is subtly saying, join us as we venture from TV to the world of feature films. This civil war drama is relevant, insightful, and disturbing as it languidly flows from one nightmare to another. If you can’t make it to the one movie theater where Beast of No Nation might be playing in your city, it’s definitely worth watching on Netflix.
—John David West