SPOIL ALERT AND A PEICE OF ADVICE: There are some really rough scenes, so please decide wisely if you can take it.
Africa. A part of the world that seems so far away from us. I don’t know if you guys are feeling the same as me, but Africa always give me two extreme impressions —The charms of the wilderness (yes, The Lion King is the main contributor of this side of impression) verses the danger and extreme instability in different nations.
Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation is based on the novel written by Uzodinma Iweala in 2005, and it follows the journey of a young boy named Agu who lives in an West African village with his family. Yet the happiness does not last when civil war breaks out, and people from the military starts to kill civilians. Agu hides with his father and his brother, but eventually they get line up and soldiers shot and kill everyone who remains alive in the village. Since Agu is really young and tiny, he got away from all the chaos and the shooting. Agu’s father and brother are shot right on the scene. Agu’s journey begins from here. It is a journey us as audiences are impossible to forget.
We gradually see a naive child forcibly be turn into a killer machine by a rising rebel that is lead by the Commandant (portrayed by Idris Elba). I think the most brilliant part of this film is how the director Cary Fukunaga gradually show what I called the “power pyramid ” in the chaos of the civil war. The comparison between the soldiers, the Commandant, and the boss who is above the commandant is slowly reveal while the story progress.
It first shows how powerful the Commandant is. He has an army of child soldiers, and people who are under him that call him “sir”. They also see him as this great leader that can lead them into the revenge of their family members. The commandant’s station is considered very well-built and well-equipped. In the eyes of Agu, the Commandant seems like a father that will teach him how to survive. However, things start to change when the Commandant ordered Agu to kill his first man. The build up and the intense feeling of the scene is the roughest scene I have seen in a movie for a long time.
The victories of small battles lead us to the end where the Commandant meet with his boss.This is my favorite part of the movie. The god o mighty Commandant actually wait for the whole day just to speak to his boss, while other business men pass by him or get call in the office before him. This shows how small the Commandant is compare to the politics behind all the conflicts and civil war in Africa. There are so many rebels in Africa, and the Commandant is just one of the leader of the group. His power is all an illusion. After watching Beasts of No nation, my heart is filled with sorrow. These conflicts in Africa is stripping away children’s innocence and turning them into monsters they do not want to be. The scariest thing is people in high power positions have no regards about ruining young generations lives to achieve their personal goals. It is sad, but it is the truth. Sometimes truth is just as ugly as it can be.