Combustible Celluloid
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With: Idris Elba, Kurt Egyiawan, Jude Akuwudike, Emmanuel “King Kong” Nii Adom Quaye, Abraham Attah
Written by: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Uzodinma Iweala
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: English, Akan, with English subtitles
Running Time: 137
Date: 10/16/2015

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pains in Africa

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Netflix's very first original streaming movie, Cary Joji Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation (2015) caused quite a controversy when it first arrived; certain theater chains boycotted it, and then (possibly in relation to this), the film received no Oscar nominations, sparking an outrage about lack of cultural diversity. (#OscarsSoWhite) But all that aside, the movie itself is a powerhouse, brutal, crisply-paced, and still somewhat optimistic. Abraham Attah gives an astonishing performance as Agu, a young boy caught in an African civil war. When his father and brother are killed, he runs into the jungle and is discovered by a band of guerrilla soldiers, most of them not much older than Agu, and led by the fearsome Commandant (Idris Elba). He ensures their survival, but also exposes them to shocking horrors. In one heartbreaking moment, we see how Agu has become numb, laughing and playing games as men are shot behind him. Elba's creation is monstrous, proud and vain and vile, and the actor received numerous other nominations and awards for his performance.

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