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Beasts Of No Nation Criterion Blu-ray Review

“Beasts Of No Nation” is an emotional gut-punch.

Based on the novel of the same name, 2015’s “Beasts Of No Nation” (which was the first Netflix original movie) revolves around a young boy named Agu. Agu is an imaginative and happy child who lives in a West African nation that has been ravaged by Civil War. He starts out by living in a protected buffer zone with his family. Agu’s homelife is soon upended when the militarized rebels (National Reformation Council) seizes control of the Government. Some of his family is sent away, but his father and older brother are murdered. Agu manages to flee into the jungle where he meets the rebel faction known as the Native Defense Forces which is comprised of child soldiers and led by the Commandant. From there on out, Agu’s life begins to spiral downwards as he becomes a child soldier.

Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (who is helming the soon to be released James Bond film “No Time To Die”), “Beasts Of No Nation” is the type of movie that is undeniably tough to watch. It’s a dark and heartbreaking story about the horrors of war, a loss of innocence, death, and PTSD. It’s a story about an innocent child who is swallowed up by the war machine which leads him to witness and commit unspeakable horrors. We’ve seen a lot of war films over the years about the atrocities of war whether it be “Platoon” or “Saving Private Ryan,” but ‘Beasts’ gives us a different perspective by focusing on child soldiers and wars in Africa. The POV mixed with Fukunaga’s fresh and unrestrained approach to the story makes it all the more effective. Sure, it could have used a few edits with the long 136 minute runtime, but that’s a minor quibble.

Aiding Fukunaga here is an exceptional cast. Idris Elba is never better as the vile Commandant. You really get to see what the actor is capable of outside of big Hollywood vehicles with this performance. Abraham Attah (Agu) gives one of the great child acting performances of late. The young actor not only manages to convey such deep emotions, but he pulls so much weight here given that the movie is all about his character’s journey. I really hope we get to see more from this actor down the road.


Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? Thanks to the  2K digital master, this is the best the film has looked. A pristine print.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the dialogue to the sounds of the jungle, this layered track delivers.

* “Beasts Of No Nation” trailer
* A booklet with an essay by film critic Robert Daniels.
* A new interview with costume designer Jenny Eagan.
* A 21 minute interview between cultural critic/Black List founder Franklin Leonard and writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Discussions range from Fukunaga’s childhood to making “Beasts Of No Nation.”
* “Passion Project”- A fascinating and extensive 61 minute documentary featuring cast and crew interviews and topics including events in Sierra Leone that inspired the film, the novel the film is based on, behind-the-scenes stories, and more.
* A new commentary track by Cary Joji Fukunaga and first assistant director Jon Mallard.

August 12, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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