Now available on Netflix and in select theaters is writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s war drama Beasts of No Nation. The Netflix original premiered at the Venice Film Festival last month where it tallied four nominations overall with Fukunaga and star Abraham Attah each being recognized. Fukunaga adapted the film from Uzodinma Iweala‘s 2005 novel of the same name and, if there was any lingering doubt after season one of HBO’s True Detective, Beasts cements the filmmaker’s status as one of the most skillful storytellers working today.
Make no mistake: Beasts is not an easy watch. The horrors of war and its devastating inhumanity are on full display. Thankfully, Fukunaga handles the subject with aplomb and stars Abraham Attah and Idris Elba deliver stellar performances that convey the misery of the situation without ever feeling exploitative or hollow. There is a depth to the film, a weight of importance that is only there because it was made with such care and skill. Heavy themes such as stolen innocence, revenge, and hopelessness are rarely expressed as thoughtfully and honestly as they are in Beasts of No Nation. Watch it.
Before you divert your attention elsewhere, let’s get to this week’s Top 5: