Around the world there is injustice everywhere. There are injustices that preside which are not exploited across news channel headlines or in the papers. There are countless injustices that are immoral which continue to exist today worldwide. One of those injustices directly relates to the film “Beast of No Nation” which gives intricate details of the atrocities associated with being a child soldier in Western Africa.
Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, “Beasts of No Nation” is based on Uzodinma Iweala’s traumatic, linguistically stunning novel of a child soldier’s life.
Beast of No Nation is a remarkable film that tells the story of a young West African boy named Agu (played by Abraham Attah), who one day makes the challenging decision to live or to die. Growing in his small village, Agu was born into a very close knit family and community. . His mother and father loved Agu dearly, showing him patience and admiration in the film. Agu and his girl-crazy brother shared a room where he constantly fantasized about having relationships with girls in the village. Agu’s schoolmates would go out and try to make money by selling things they would find in the trash, streets and around the way. Unfortunately, Agu and everyone he loved were in danger because their village was located in a civil war zone.
When receiving this information many of the men had the choice to relocate and be with their families or to stay and fight as men. Many of the women were given passes and rides to leave the area and never to see their families again. Agu was supposed to leave with his mother but was forced to stay behind with his father and brother and watch over the land. Within days Agu’s father and brother were shot and killed right in front of him as the militia made its way through the village. In complete shock Agu ran until he couldn’t run any more. He found himself in the forest and walking and running into the middle of nowhere until he ran into a militia made up of small children, teenagers and a Commandant ( played by Idris Elba). Encountering these people Agu had just lost his mother, his father, his brother, and baby sister and the Commandant was offering him a new “home”. In the militia Agu befriends another young soldier by the name of Strika, who never speaks, and the teenage soldiers become his surrogate older brothers. The Commandant was a demonic father figure to the boys and was more of a coach and uplifting presence to inspire the boys to kill, steal and destroy. He would praise them for bravery and treat them as his own sons yet preyed secretly on his young militia.
During the movie the genocidal violence and blunt cruelty is not concealed. The film covers many of the bloody ambushes, late-night firefights, and urban skirmishes where the young militia abduct children, murder entire families and rape women of the villages they usurp. While committing these malicious acts encouraged by the Commandant the children are doped up on drugs, they receive from the Commandant to increase their adrenaline and aggression. Hence many of the children become drug addicts to cope with the killing and their own broken past that forced them to become an asset to the militia. Throughout the film the evolution of Agu’s innocence is diminished as he quickly becomes numb to the inhumane realities of the civil war. Agu is hardened and learns to trust no one and create no attachments in this war including his own Commandant, who became his father figure. In the movie Agu no longer seeks the Commandant’s approval or praise and abandons him to find his own way with the rest of his militia brothers that survived.
“Beast of No Nation” is a must see for every individual whether they are into drama induced films or not. The film educates the world of the atrocities occurring beyond our common borders. This breathtaking film will have you in tears and properly informed about the issues occurring not only in Western Africa but in other war torn nations as well. The film illuminates global issues by allowing the audience to see these silenced children as victims. “Beast of No Nation” is easily accessible and can be seen in your home theatre on Netflix.