I have been a huge fan of Fukunaga since his first film, Sin Nombre. That film was so realistic I thought that it was written by someone who actually lived through a similar experience.
When I started to read up on Sin Nombre I found out that Fukunaga spent 2 years of his life researching the film. He spent time on trains, time with hardcore gangs from Central America. He even got two gangs members to write the dialogue for the gangs scenes to make it seem more authentic.
Out of all the great films/tv he has released I went into Beasts Of No Nation knowing that it would carry the same authenticity, as his directorial début, Sin Nombre.
Beasts Of No Nation starts off with our main character, Agu (Abraham Attah) and his friends having fun in their village. They are normal kids, full of life and laughter, causing mischief and getting into trouble with the other villagers.
Outside their small village – barricades and armed forces are keeping the peace from rebel forces who have attacked nearby villages. It’s in these moments you realise that all this happiness that we’re witnessing on-screen, is about to turn into bloodshed and mayhem.
When the rebels close in on their village, Agu gets separated from his loved ones. Alone, and frightened for his life, Agu run into a near by forest.
Agu then meets Commandant (Idris Elba) and his army of child soldiers. Commandant says the words that Agu needs to hear – it doesn’t take much for Agu to want to fight in this war, and he feels like he has no choice. Next thing we know, this fun-loving child is now carrying a machete and an AK47.
We get to see this world through Agu’s eyes – when Agu is walking beside other child soldiers we get to hear Agu’s thoughts through narrative, so we always know what is going through the his head.