Having held the lion’s share of original TV content on streaming services for the longest time, Netflix is now beginning to make a push toward establishing itself as a prolific output for feature films, and spearheading the charge for the online giant is this year’s awards-tipped war drama, Beasts of No Nation.
Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Jane Eyre), Netflix pushed long and hard to secure distribution rights for the film, ensuring that it qualified for a stint on the awards circuit later this year, too. And you can see why the company lobbied for the project.
The plot follows Idris Elba as a deadly warlord and Abraham Attah as a young boy from Western Africa whose life, along with scores of children just like him, is cruelly upended by a ferocious civil war. One thing’s for sure: Beasts of No Nation is pulling no punches when it comes to tackling themes of child soldiers and the effects of war, given how barbaric the first teaser proved to be.
With an official synopsis that has more than an air of The Last King of Scotland about it, we’re cautiously optimistic for Fukunaga’s drama, which will primarily center on Attah’s Agu:
“After his parents are killed, a young African boy is forced to become a child soldier in a rebel army led by a brutal commandant.”
It’s Elba who will be bringing that brutal commandant to life, and we’ve long see the actor bring his gravely tones and gravitas to roles in the past. Playing the part of a so-called savior, ruler and criminal, the film is offering up a complex, multi-faceted role for Elba to sink his teeth into.
Based on the book by Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation opens in limited release on October 16, when the hard-hitting war drama will become available on Netflix, too.