Wow… I just don’t know how I am going to write this review but well… here it goes.
A few weeks back Ghanaian media was taken over by the story of a 14 year old Ghanaian street vendor who won an international movie award. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing how good this kid was in the movie to have won an award that big and how this movie shot in Ghana would come out like. It was a bit of an uneasy wait because the trailer promised so much and I am sure I am not the only person who just couldn’t wait to see if it was really worth it.
Beast of No Nation tells the story of Agu a child soldier fighting in a rebel army in a civil war for an unknown country.
I know the plot kind of looks simple and shallow, but the entire script of this movie (which is actually based of a book by Uzodinma Iweala) goes real deep. For lack of better words …..I would describe this movie as a captivating story propelled by a Powerful performance.
There have been many movies that also were made to capture and tell the story of the devastating effects of civil wars or political struggles in Africa but by far, this takes a different dimension, intended to give us a look at the inner mental conflicts and struggles of child soldiers.
Right from the start the story builds your interest in the life, intelligence and leadership qualities of the lead character Agu (Abraham Attah). Who ever made the final casting choice to pick this young boy for this role would surely be feeling more than fulfilled. For someone who has never acted before he was flawless in every single scene. He was born to do this… Abraham Attah was born to play Agu. At every point in the story line, as his character unfolds he is able to stir up the right emotions to transform his character to keep the viewers’ attention. He deserves all the praise he is receiving and we can only look forward to greater performances from him.
I had keen interest in seeing how Idris Elba was going to fit in this movie. In my personal opinion, he settled in comfortably…again. I am yet to see a bad Idris performance. But I must admit it is very hard to pay attention to him with young Abraham Attah stealing all of the spotlight.
It was also a good feeling seeing ace Ghanaian actors Fred Amugi, David Dontoh and Grace Nortey in this movie. Although they didn’t have lead roles or dominating characters I am content knowing that these GREATS haven’t been forgotten and were given a chance to contribute to this massive global hit. It also starred the beautiful and talented Ama K Abrebese. Although she seemed to have been struggling with speaking twi she did own her character as well.
In all there was nothing majorly wrong with the acting and performances. Even the extras and supporting cast were spot on in their deliveries. I don’t know much about the director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s work but I am more than impressed with his work on this movie and I wouldn’t hesitate to watch anything else he is associated with. He did an amazingly awesome job with this movie.
For something that was shot right here in Ghana you can’t help but be awed by the great visuals and cinematography that accompanied this story. Although the plot does not make mention of any particular country where it is set the makers did do well to utilize the locations at their disposal to complete the mix needed to successfully tell this captivating story. I don’t think any Ghanaian who sees this movie would not be impressed with the scenery just as I was.
I also liked the makeup and costuming. In fact they had every single detail figured out and executed to perfection. Well, with an estimated budget of 6,000,000 USD we can’t expect anything less. (Makes me wonder, will a Ghanaian production company be able to make a movie this good with that kind of budget? I bet we will find out soon… fingers crossed.)
Surprisingly, this movie borrowed soundtracks from current popular songs from artiste like Sarkodie, Shatta Wale and Joey B. I don’t know what exactly influenced the makers to do so but it seemed a bit off for me… considering that the movie didn’t exactly tell the year or decade the plot was set in but had that vibe or feel to it that sort of expressed it set somewhere in the early 1990s or even much earlier. Also some of the scenes or dialogues made references to things or happenings that might not have been around at that time. Although these goofs are nothing major, for someone like myself who pays close attention to petty details in a movie they can be very confusing.
Although I did not like that it ended with several unanswered questions, its climax has a way of delivering the message the writer intended to give with this story. A well befitting climax for this 137mins emotional journey. If you pay close attention you are sure to pick up the underlying theme of this movie.
Overall this was more than just an averagely good movie. It does live up to expectations. I can guarantee that this movie would not only fascinate and entertain you, but would also awaken you and cause you to question your thoughts on certain aspects of human nature.
GhMoviefreak would like to score this movie a perfect 8/10. And strongly recommend that you push it up your watchlist, you won’t regret it.
I wish we could call this movie as OUR own….I am waiting patiently for that time to be here.