A young boy (Abraham Attah) is separated from his family when a civil war flares up and he has to flee for his life. He is taken under the wing of the commandant (Idris Elba) to a group of young rebel militants. We then follow the life of a rebel soldier child through the eyes of one such solider.
Beasts of no Nation may have been forever known as the first ever Netflix feature length to be released in cinemas, if it weren’t for the fact that it is absolutely sensational. Containing two of the best performances of the not just the year, but the decade. Abraham Attah is incredible in the lead role in a performance that would probably land an adult with an Oscar nomination, and yet he is only 15. Watch this one people, he is going to be big. The second comes from Idris Elba who has been long due a good enough film to fully showcase his abilities.
The film itself is stunning, showing the harrowing nature of the life as a child militant. But it never gets too heavy. There are light human touches dotted all over the film, and like the characters you never lose hope no matter how bleak it may be looking. The cinematography manages to not get lost in the gorgeous African landscapes and focuses on characters. This is a film that is interested in individual struggles rather than civil war as a whole. This is a risky strategy because it’s puts a lot of pressure on the actors. Luckily for everyone involved they had one of the ensemble casts of the year led by the brilliant Abraham Attah and Idris Elba. Elsewhere Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye and Kobina Amissah-Sam shine.
Overall, any doubts about Netflix’s ability to produce quality films as well as TV have been fully laid to rest. Now all we have to do is wait for Adam Sandler’s Ridiculous Six to strike those doubts right back up again. But the real thing to take away from Beasts of no Nation is just how incredible Elba and Attah are.