Cary Joji Fukunaga’s new Netflix original film “Beasts of No Nation” is getting people to talk about something that otherwise would be unfamiliar to them: the pressing issue of child warfare.
Fukunaga, who also directed the film, co-wrote the screenplay and directed the photography, based off the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Ikweala.
The film peeks into the life of a young boy named Agu, played by Abraham Attah. Living a typically normal life in an unnamed African country in the midst of a civil war, Agu’s life gets capsized during a military raid on his town.
Agu’s educational upbringing and social background make him a noticeable asset to the Commandant, played by Idris Elba, and he soon gives Agu training to become an active soldier.
Attah, though not a household name, is sure to be a success in this film.
Choosing an actor that the audience is unfamiliar with to play Agu gives less of an emotional attachment to the actor himself, shifting the focus toward the character.
Oftentimes we associate actors and actresses with their characters from other movies that they have been in. As Attah is a new face, we will not have any preconceived notions unconscious or otherwise about what the character is like.
Because the actor isn’t necessarily famous, he gives the movie a more authentic feel. It is clear that his exceptional talent did not go unnoticed, as he won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the 72nd Venice film festival this year.
However, it is clear that Fukunaga definitely took a chance on this film.
A lot of times, we, as an audience, want to see movies that will make us feel good, not necessarily ones that will make us feel something.
We want comedies that will give us a chuckle and romance movies that will make us believe in love.
We even crave action and sci-fi films that will make us feel powerful.
But a movie that awakens us to the harsh realities of society?
Are we ready for that?
Will people be willing to sit down in front of their TVs, Netflix or go into select theaters to view this heart wrenching, real life film?
There is no doubt that this film is going to raise questions about this topic, as well as provoke strong emotions from the audience.
I personally think this should be the goal of more movies and television shows today.
The film industry plays such a vital role in impacting our society and how we perceive different aspects of life, so I think that focusing on real issues is imperative to get people to start thinking.
The Oscar-eligible film is expected to hit Netflix and select theaters on Oct. 16, so make sure to keep an eye out.