Beasts of No Nation (Cary Fukunaga, 2015)

What's it about? In an un-named African country torn apart by civil war, young orphan Agu (Abraham Attah) is recruited as a child soldier under the command of a vicious warlord (Idris Elba).

Is it any good? I'm guessing anyone intending to 'Netflix and chill' whilst watching this might be in for a bit of a shock. In telling Agu's story, it's a pretty grim depiction of how the emotions and morals of young children can be manipulated with terrible consequences. Anyone with even the slightest awareness of child soldier armies in war-torn parts of Africa will know to expect some hard-to-watch sequences as Agu and his comrades become increasingly desensitized to the atrocities they see and, distressingly, contribute to. Fukunaga (who helmed S1 of TV's True Detective) directs his own script here in efficient, rather than inspired, fashion, but he does have two excellent performances from Attah and Elba to anchor the film. It may not tell us anything particularly new about the horrors of war and there's no real surprises in how it plays out, but it's still a worthwhile and sobering watch. Just don't expect to get laid when it's on.

Anything else I should know? The Netflix reference above is because this represents the first film project to be distributed by Netflix, who purchased the worldwide distribution rights. The success of the film through streaming service (as compared to a poor showing at the box-office) has provided good validation for the media company's strategy for releasing other high-profile films projects the same way. As such, the film is now being viewed as a possible game-changer for the industry, with the ability to reach more viewers and also afford 'smaller' films a more viable distribution platform. Better start saving for that subscription fee - looks like these Netflix guys are going to have something more than Breaking Bad to watch over the next while

What does the Fonz think? Let's Netflix and Kill.

Watch it on Netflix

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