Beasts of No Nation Thoughts
After seeing True Detective Season 1, I knew Cary Joji Fukunaga was going to go down as a great talent and I was really really really excited to see Beasts of No Nation. I’ll admit, I got a little nervous, my expectations were high and Sin Nombre didn’t blow me away. So how would Fukunaga’s writing fair? Beasts of No Nation had more of a narrative than I expected. It’s a brilliant story that treads in familiar territory but it’s still unique enough. It’s a compelling tale of a child who loses everything and the last thing he has left his humanity.
Fukunaga put so much care into this movie and it shows. He shot & directed the entire thing and almost died during production. It’s beautiful, it feels very real and it’s authentic. There’s no cliches or deus ex machinas. It’s very well paced, I wasn’t bored at all nor was I looking at my watch. My only worry was how would it end? Well it ends beautifully and is a strong wrap to Agu’s arc. I’ve seen couple of comments on forums about people’s interpretations of the ending and they are so dead wrong. Then again, everyone should interpret a movie that works the best for them. I think Beasts of No Nation is a story about hope in our humanity & how that can save us and others. It’s a brutal and painful film to watch. It’s not super explicit except one scene but the tragedy is this stuff is real & happens every day. The most important part of Agu’s story is his moral compass. He’s rapidly losing it but his humanity keeps him in check.
I don’t really have anything to complain about except some of the material in the movie feels a little familiar. I didn’t like how Commandant’s story arc ended but now I think about it, it fits the movie a lot. (It’s different than the book) There’s another line at the end of the movie which I wish they kept but for the ending they went with, it works. It’s beautifully made, the score is really powerful. It has an indie sentimental vibe to it. One of my favorite moments in the movie is the war kids are playing tag with each other and that score is so complimentary. It’s a touching scene. Going back to the authentic statement, the movie feels very very real. Idris Elba’s performance as Commandant is complex & monstrous at the same time. He’s a great reflection of what the kids could possibly end up becoming. And Elba doesn’t come off as cartoony, overplayed, or trying too hard. He’s a natural fit for the character. His accent seems real, his mannerisms are frightening. There’s one scene where he’s picking militants and singing with them. That was pure awesomness. It’s his best performance since Stringer Bell and I really hope he wins awards for this role. His co-star, Abraham Attah is a revelation. In an age of terrible child actors, Attah carries the film and holds himself very well against Elba which is no easy task. I applaud Fukunaga getting locals in the supporting cast because it just felt right. To take on such a dark topic, you need to make this feel real as possible. I think best director should be toss up between Fukunaga & Denis Villeneuve this year.
Beasts of No Nation is a fantastic piece of art. I want to say masterpiece but I have such a distaste for that term. I don’t believe any movie is perfect and I don’t think Beasts of No Nation is perfect but it’s a film that’s meticulously well made. It’s got some of the best direction of the year, an emotional score, astounding performances and beautiful cinematography. I’d even go as far to say that this is one of the best coming of age films. It’s Fukunaga’s best work. Beasts of No Nation might not be for everyone, it’s a tough watch but it’s strong tale. It has its lighthearted moments and it has a complete narrative. It reminds me of how good Slumdog Millionaire was in its first half but turned into Hollywood nonsense the second half. I’m so happy that Beasts of No Nation sticks to its tone. There’s nothing else I can say except that ending is gorgeous. In comparison to the ending of Sin Nombre, this is better. Beasts of No Nation could possibly be my favorite movie of 2015 and you know what I don’t think there’s going to be anything else that tops that. (YES EVEN STAR WARS) Though Charlie Kaufman has a new film coming out....
Also anyone thinking the same thing? Idris Lazer?