Beasts of No Nation

“Frank, there’s one movie I saw yesterday that was so good and I want you to see it”

“Okay sure”

This was the conversation that led to me watching ‘Beasts of No Nation’ yesterday. Now, I don’t agree with this person on a lot of subject matters, but we haven’t argued over a movie, just music so I was willing to watch.

When I found out it was ‘Beast of No Nation’, I was a little excited. The people at Leopard People had spoken about it earlier – about the book by Uzodinma Iweala (which I’m currently reading) and the movie which features Elba. We were going to have some members read the book and the others watch the movie to compare and contrast.

Anyway, here’s my few cents on the movie

The Story

I haven’t finished with the book, so I cannot really say something about how the movie tells everything about the book or how it misses out a lot of things like most movies based on a book (Case Study: Half of a Yellow Sun). But I liked what the story had planned as executed in the movie.  According to this synopsis on Reddit, it is a drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country


Cast and Acting

  • Abraham Attah as Agu
  • Idris Elba as Commandant
  • Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye as Strika
  • Emmanuel Affadzi as Dike
  • Ricky Adelayitor as Village Constable
  • Andrew Adote as Ecomod 2nd Lieutenant
  • Vera Nyarkoah Antwi as Little Sister
  • Ama K. Abebrese as Mother
  • Kobina Amissah-Sam as Father


I must commend whoever did the casting. I thought it was really good! The cast looked like who they were depicted to be. Agu, the main character was so good. I found it hard to believe it was his first movie (He won his first award for the movie at the Venice Film Festival early this year). I really don’t know how he did it but he conveyed everything the way it was supposed to be. You could see it – from weak hearted to strong-hearted and to emotional. There was no reason for you not to believe him. I must also commend Strika for his role in the movie. His performance was incredibly amazing that he didn’t need to say a word for you to know that he was good. I was thrilled by his actions when Agu was first captured. I liked Commandant’s acting (I kept on imagining Wale Ojo acting) and in as much as his character isn’t your favorite by default, I loved him and silently prayed Agu didn’t kill Commandant.

Speaking about the rest of the cast, I liked Agu’s mother and father. We didn’t get to see them for a long time, but I was really impressed by their acting.


Things I Liked

  • Imagination TV – I totally laughed my ass off at the beginning where Agu and his friends went about town with their imagination TV. The 3D scene had me get up from my seat and laugh for like four minutes straight. And did they say Nigerians always buying things and so easy to be selling to?
  • Location and Cinematography – There was a war with regular bloodsheds, but in all of these, there were random scenes where we got to celebrate the scenery.
  • When Commandant motivated the boys and led them to the bridge – According to a user on Reddit, he probably would have joined them at that point
  • The church scene – The whole turn up was so real!
  • The scene where it transitioned from night to day while they were waiting for the grand commandant – We saw all this through the eyes of Idris
  • Innocent Agu – The bit where Agu asks himself how a girl will sleep with him when all he does is dance and make noise
  • The faces – The faces Agu and his brother make while their parents discuss moving away
  • When Commandant called Agu and Strika his squad – I loved it! #SquadGoals
  • The diction – As funny as it may sound, I liked hearing the present continuous tense being used “I asking you question, you are not answering”
  • The music – Mostly soul, and chattering of people. But I was there for that
  • The way they toned down on the rape scene – That is, the one between Commandant and Agu. That, for some people would have been the high point of the movie.

Painful Scenes to Watch

  • The initiation scene
  • The scene where Agu kills the man on the head.
  • The scene where he kills the woman who has a daughter
  • Strika’s death


Unanswered Questions

  • Is it weird that just Agu and Strika have the same kind of head warmer thing? (And when Agu comes out, Strika gives him the “I understand look”) – Also, remember when Agu was first initiated and commandant calls in Strika? (Is this why they’re on his team?)
  • Why doesn’t the grand commander go after the commandant?
  • What happens to commandant afterward?


Great Lines

  • “A child has an eye to see, hands to struggle, a finger to pull a trigger. How can you say this child is nothing?” – Commandant
  • “Sun, why do you shine on the world” – Agu



Rating– 8/10 for me. Massive shoutout to Cary Joji Fukunga who wrote the drama for the screen directed it and was also the cinematographer. I’ll be rooting for you and your actors at the Oscars!


PS- Did you know “Tuwasi” who Commandant killed was actual “2IC” meaning “second in command”