Netflix is making a considerable awards push for its war drama Beasts of No Nation, premiering in theaters and on the streaming service later this year, and the intense first teaser for the indie pic makes it seem like that campaign may be warranted after all. From the looks of it, the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed film features two extremely potent performances – one from Luther‘s Idris Elba, and one from newcomer Abraham Attah.
Based on the book by Uzodinma Iweala, which Fukunaga adapted, the movie centers on a young boy, Agu, whose childhood in a West African country is torn asunder by a brutal civil war that rips him away from his family. Rudderless and terrified, Agu is embraced by a group of mercenary fighters who work to turn him into a soldier. Attah plays the youth, while Elba is taking on the role of Commandant, a warlord who makes it his job to teach Agu how to kill.
Beasts of No Nation is going to receive a rather odd rollout later this year that will mark it as a Netflix production while still affording it an award-qualifying theatrical release. It’s premiering at Venice and TIFF first. Then, thanks to distributor Bleecker Street and the Landmark theater chain, the film will open theatrically in 19 markets on October 16. That same day, the film will simultaneously become available for streaming.
Back when it was announced that Netflix was plotting a day-and-date theatrical and streaming release, the major theater chains — AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike — boycotted the flick, infuriated by its flouting of the traditional 90-day exclusive theatrical window. Luckily, with Bleecker Street and Landmark on Netflix’s side, viewers in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego will still have the option of going to see Beasts of No Nation in theaters if they so choose. Otherwise, they can watch it from the safety and security of their laptops at home.