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TIFF Report: Beasts Of No Nation

beasts of no nation

Who’s in it: Idris Elba and newcomer Abraham Attah

Who’s behind it: Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the guy responsible for True Detective (the good season), based on a novel by Uzodinma Iweala

Who’ll love it: War movie buffs interested in a human, micro-level glimpse at one of the world’s most complex conflict zones.

What’s it about: Agu is a child soldier, recruited into a rag-tag band of rebels after his village becomes a battleground between two warring factions. Separated from his family, Agu has only his fellow soldiers and a dwindling faith in god to rely on. Led by a charismatic commandant (Idris Elba) prone to beating, drugging, and sexually abusing his young followers, the unit moves towards the capital, where food, wealth, women, and—most importantly—justice in the form of revenge are promised them.

Why you should see it: With Beasts of No Nation Fukunaga returns to his filmmaking roots, documenting hyper-realistic political unrest and the resulting violence as he did in his first feature, SIN Nombre. This time it’s child soldiers in Africa instead of migrants in South America that are the focus. Fukunaga studied political sciences and history at university, and has expressed an ongoing interest in “geo-politics, and conflict in neo-colonial countries” and his careful and sympathetic portrayal of his protagonist’s predicament is evidence of his acute sensitivity to the issues. Elba is excellent in his role

as Commandant and Fukunaga uses the camera to make him appear even more intimidating, shooting him from below to capture the way he’d appear to a child. If you’ve ever wondered why regular people fall in line with murderous tyrants and warlords, Elba’s performance will provide answers.

When you can see it: Beasts of No Nation has its Canadian premiere Sunday September 13 at 8:30pm at Ryerson theatre. Catch it again on September 14 at Roy Thomson Hall and September 19 at the Elgin Theatre.

Watch the trailer here, and check out the poster below:

beasts of no nation