Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
A film about political and civil unrest in Africa (the specific country is never named) and as heartbreaking and terrifying as you'd imagine. Wonderfully made, the camera work puts you right in the centre alongside these people having their already tough worlds torn apart. It's not easy to watch, the depiction of callous disregard for life, especially seen through the eyes of a child is often too much to bare. As if that's not harrowing enough, what follows is beyond horrific. Incessant killing, exploitation of children, power hungry people with complete disregard for life and any moral standard. In all the confusion it's not always obvious who the real monsters are. As the film goes on though, is seems everyone is and as things escalate, it's hard to except that despite this being dramatised, it's no doubt based on a sad harsh reality. Elba is frighteningly good, so much so, you wonder if you were able to reach into that world, would you kill him and become a monster too. Abraham Attah, who plays Agu, the child who leads us through this brutal world is amazing. This is his first outing and it's quite incredible, I've no doubt he'll go on to even greater things (although he's signed up for a Spider-Man film). The music is the only true positive element of the film itself, be it the traditional stuff or the ethereal score, it's outstanding, but never masks the turmoil of the characters and their existence.