2015 Movie Reviews: Beasts Of No Nation

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So, it’s Oscar Season, and a lot of interesting movies are coming out. While I know I’m not gonna be able to see every movie that comes out, one movie that I knew I was going to see was Beasts Of No Nation. Partially because of the reviews and the Oscar Buzz, but mostly because I wouldn’t have to pay anything to see it. Now, I don’t know if Netflix is changing the history of film viewing or not, but I do know that the filmmakers don’t care about making a ton of money as long as everybody can see their film.

The question is, would you want to?

I saw a critic compare the film to 12 Years A Slave, and it’s a fitting comparison. The film is
really hard to watch. It’s very disturbing and extremely violent. So I will be the first to say that Beasts Of No Nation is not for everyone. There are those who simply won’t be able to sit through this film.

But if you know what you’re getting yourself into… this movie is amazing. The direction is wonderful. There are a couple of long interrupted takes (always a favorite) and some really nice sound design. I also like how the film’s opening scenes are very fun and really put a smile on your face. In a story that’s ultimately about the loss of innocence, it’s crucial that there’s some innocence to be lost.

Now I’m a little surprised that Idris Elba seems to be the current frontrunner. He’s very good, but it’s a little more subdued than you would expect from this kind of role. And it’s not a steaming through the awards race winning everything type performance that I was expecting. (my current Supporting Actor winner for the year is Nicholas Hoult in Fury Road)

Especially considering how the real MVP of the cast is Abraham Attah. After seeing this performance I can no longer write off bad child performances because they’re just kids. This is a kid with no acting experience who has, in a nutshell, become the male Quvenzhane Wallis. Let’s just hope his next lead role isn’t an auto-tuned musical.

I watched this movie last night, and when it ended, I remember thinking, “It was really good. I probably won’t be watching that movie again for a while.” And I was going to give it 4 1/2 stars. But then, throughout today, I kept thinking about it, I kept thinking about the brilliant direction, the stunning cinematography, Attah’s truly amazing performance, and just how powerful this movie was in general. And I thought, I probably will be watching this movie again.

It’s not easy to get through, but it’s a rewarding experience. And when the movie was over, I felt like my outlook on the world had changed a bit since the movie began.

*****

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