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Beasts of No Nation

Drama . War

A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.

Actors: Idris Elba , Opeyemi Fagbohungbe , Abraham Attah , Richard Pepple , Ama K. Abebrese , Kobina Amissah-Sam , Emmanuel Affadzi , John Arthur , Kurt Egyiawan , Jude Akuwudike , Ricky Adelayitor , Andrew Adote
Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Country: USA
Release: 2015-09-11
More Info:
  • Ann Hornaday

    Fukunaga imbues this study of ma­nipu­la­tion and manufactured loyalty with an unsettling degree of visual richness and lush natural detail.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    I never felt emotionally exploited by the terrors on screen. Rather, Beasts of No Nation is an act of gripping empathy.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Leah Greenblatt

    Cary Fukunaga’s stark, beautifully shot drama was likely never meant to be a blockbuster; its brutal account of a child soldier in an unnamed African country is far too discomfiting for wider audiences. It absolutely does belong on a big screen, though, and more important, it just deserves to be seen.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    Matching Fukunaga's proven storytelling grace with a story truly worth the telling, the result is explosively authentic and yet lyrical, making an utterly inhumane and alien situation both completely real and completely abstract.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    Fukunaga not only directed the film but also co-wrote the screenplay and served as director of photography. His efforts have resulted in a brazenly confident piece of cinematic art where every image immerses you deeper and deeper into Agu’s horror.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    This is a harrowing film to watch. In spite of the vibrant jungle greens and the searing sun, it’s as bleak a vision of modern warfare as has ever been put on screen.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The necessity of circumstances dictates everything anyone does here and you can only react with varying degrees of outrage, anger, disgust, pity, empathy and, if you're a blind optimist, hope for something better.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The idea that there may be life after war and murder, even for the murderers, and what that might look like — what burdens you might be allowed to put down and what you’ll carry forward forever. The movie’s too wise, and too weary, to have a moral beyond that.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Fukunaga is a dazzling stylist, and at times the shifting palettes of the cinematography and the brilliant camera moves (he’s also the DP on this film) are so impressive as to be marginally distracting.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    It's the remarkable Attah, whose young face reflects a hellish journey, that makes this fierce movie a blazing, indelible achievement.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Beasts of No Nation is the kind of sincere, powerful filmmaking that gives socially conscious drama a good name.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Neil Smith

    Part war story, part endurance test, this harrowing portrait of a young boy’s loss of innocence is gripping, gruelling, grown-up fare. That said, some judicious trimming wouldn’t have hurt.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Robbie Collin

    The film can get so emotionally and spiritually punishing that it needs Elba’s industrial magnetism to keep you on side. And vile as the Commandant may be, he’s a strong showcase for the actor’s talents.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    Fukunaga and his actors - especially the two leads - have managed to create a riveting drama which is suitably appalling.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    Fukunaga brings flair, muscular storytelling, directness and a persuasively epic sweep to this brutal, heartrending movie.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Fionnuala Halligan

    Full of committed performances, particularly from Elba and the impressive young actor Abraham Attah, Beasts Of No Nation is a project of considerable integrity which makes for a consistently-engrossing, if over-long, viewing experience.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The atrocities against children begin to acquire an unwelcome redundancy in their relentlessness and threaten to inure the viewer.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    The real star is Attah, a Ghanaian street kid plucked from obscurity, who imbues Agu with just the right mix of terror, brutality and the last remaining vestiges of boyish innocence.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    The country goes unnamed, the warring factions aren't always clear, but the nightmarish exploitation of children is made specific in the most vivid, visceral ways.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The world here is so ugly that only beautiful tracking shots, rich close-ups and adroit handheld work could make it bearable.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    The movie itself is an effective nightmare, and a solid piece of filmmaking, strong enough to make you wish that it could have borne the full weight of the tragedy it set out to depict.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    While Fukunaga creates Agu’s world with an extraordinary attentiveness to detail, he hasn’t quite found a way to approximate the novel’s radically childlike perspective, or to bridge the gap between this child soldier’s psyche and our own.

    Variety Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The film in the end seems more of an expertly orchestrated blood bath than a full-scale tragedy.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The film is good to excellent in every way except morally, and there it's questionable more often than it should be, not because it's an evil film, or because the filmmaker or actors are bad people, but because the interplay of means and ends have been under-thought or misjudged, to the point where the film becomes a catalog of obscenities. Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    The problem with Beasts Of No Nation is that it approaches war largely on the level aesthetic challenge, meaning that whatever sense of revulsion it creates comes from the personality of Commandant. It’s his absence, rather than memories of murder and rape, that hangs like a dark cloud over the movie’s intriguingly unresolved epilogue.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Sure to be a favorite with racists, Beasts of No Nation sheds no light whatsoever on Africa’s civil wars but turns its gaze on black people brutalizing one another with machetes, howitzers, rifles and anything else that comes to hand. I picture Calvin Candie, the plantation owner in “Django Unchained,” yelling, “Yeah! Git ’em!”

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ed Gonzalez

    Cary Joji Fukunaga’s artistry registers less as psychological imprint than as a measure of his professional bona fides.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Fukunaga’s hurtling camera and taut cutting keep Beasts of No Nation only just this side of hallucinatory, and Elba is the kind of titanic actor to kick it to a near-mythic level.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • David Hughes

    A bold portrayal of a boy soldier in a brutal, bloody conflict, anchored by commanding performances from Idris Elba and 14 year-old newcomer Abraham Attah.

    Empire Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Beasts on No Nation makes a terrific vehicle for Elba and a grim reminder that even if we’re tired of hearing of it.

    Movie Nation Full Review
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