Despite my lack of an appetite for yet another film about child soldiers within the African continent (the danger of a single story), "Beasts of No Nation" is on my Oscar 2016 predictions lists. In what categories exactly, I can’t yet say, because the film hasn’t been publicly screened yet. But we can speculate that co-star Idris Elba just may snag a Best Supporting Actor nomination; director Cary Fukunaga may be a shoo-in for Best Director; the screenplay may get some attention; and maybe even the film itself for Best Picture (or Best Foreign Language Film).
Netflix picked up "Beast of No Nation" earlier this year, after a bidding war that ended with the streaming platform paying a reported hefty $12 million for rights to release it. The film will debut Friday, October 16, 2015 worldwide on Netflix, in all territories where the service is available, and on the same day in select USA theaters, in a partnership with distribution company Bleecker Street.
"Beasts of No Nation" is based on the highly acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, bringing to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an unnamed African country. Newcomer Abraham Attah stars as Agu, while Elba plays the role of Commandant, a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.
When the Netflix deal was announced, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said "Beasts of No Nation" is a powerful film that unfolds beautifully in the hands of director Fukunaga, adding that Idris Elba delivers what he called a "career-defining performance."
The novel "Beast of No Nation" is a complex tale, explicit, in that it doesn’t shy away from the harsh stuff – a confrontational, immersive first-person narrative. With Fukunaga’s name and pedigree, I’m sure it will continue to attract much press and critical attention. Idris is certainly no slouch either. Little is known at this time about newcomer Abraham Attah, who plays the child soldier (his feature film acting debut), but I’m sure he’ll be someone to watch as well.
A first teaser trailer (released last month) for "Beasts of No Nation" is embedded below if you missed it. But first, Netflix has debuted a set of 6 character posters for the film – 3 for each of its 2 key players, Attah and Elba, showing the progression of the characters they play:
And here’s the teaser: