Fukunaga is the auteur and Idris is the name you recognize on the poster, but ‘Beasts of No Nation’ belongs to Abraham Attah.
‘The Wire’ and ‘City of God’ both excel in showing you how children with no hope can become stone cold killers. ‘Beasts’ asks an even more somber question: ‘What if it’s complete within reason things didn’t have to go this way?’
No matter how good the story is, or how great the auteur may be, it’s a HUGE leap of faith to pin your story’s fate on a child actor. So I keep coming back to it; Attah’s performance is not overly ‘showy’ in my opinion, but he hits his character’s arc fully. Playful childhood innocence to programmed child soldier to the ‘what now’ on the other side (if there is an other side).
Streaming on Netflix. Watch it.