Beasts of No Nation

“FIRE!”

The child soldiers cheer on after the rocket launcher.

“See that. That is magic. Hunh. We are going to take that bridge. We are going to take that bridge. Hunh! Formation! That bridge we are taking it.”

“YES SIR!”

“Better look me in the eyes mada fucker. Who wants to fight? Unha! I am only taking de brave. I am not taking the scary. I am not taking no girls. Are you ready to fight?”

“YES SIR!”

“ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT?”

“YES SIR!”

“You want to take that bridge?”

“YES SIR!”

“We are gonna take that fuckin bridge!”

“YES SIR!”

“Ibenda ke!”

“Tagalakyuma yo!”

“Ibenda ke?”

“Tagalakyuma yo!”

HAVE YOU WATCHED BEASTS OF NO NATION? Have you? Or have you read the book with also the same title? Or have you listened to the album by Fela Kuti also with the same title? The book which gets its title from the music album by Fela Kuti now has a movie adaption that for once in my life, I counted the 2 hours and 10 minutes of mind boggleness that is this story. Last evening, at around 10:00pm when I got home, I decided to watch the movie. A friend of mine had earlier told me how himself and a couple of others decided to sit and watch it, and for the same amount of time, they couldn’t believe what they’d just watched. I don’t know what exactly inspired the author but this is one deep story talking about the plight of child soldiers in Africa and around the world. 

This excerpt is from one of my favourite scenes in the movie. I have watched this scene over and over again and can’t seem to get it out of my head. The actors are brilliant and Idris Elba does a magnificent job in this movie.

This movie brought out what I am most afraid of…the pulpable excitement I get when I watch or come across something very inspiring. I felt that I could write a 20,000 word masters thesis after watching this movie. As soon as I was done, I was on the internet doing background research on the actors, the directors, the scoring, the Internet ratings, the YouTube reviews, the everything and anything about this movie. The director’s take on the story…and before I forget, Abraham Attah’s magnificent role. Dude totally killed it. 

I literally played the soundtrack on my player the whole day today and as I write this, I am watching this very scene. If you haven’t watched it, WATCH IT. Or read it. Read the book. In one of the interviews, the director and author share their perspectives and one thing’s for sure, the darkness in the book is not fully brought out in the movie. They dumbed it down to allow for ease of view for the audiences around the world. They even talked about the gay scene not included in the movie. Why? Around the time of the final editing, Uganda’s debate on the LGBT community was on going and they didn’t want to exacerbate the situation.

It is a touching story. I feel like I don’t do it justice but maybe encouraging you to read the book or watch the movie is the best I can do. Truth is, this is among the best, if not the BEST movie I’ve watched In a while. There’s very few movies that make you want to cry, and this I do say made me shed a tear. I felt this story told a side to a tale very few can relate with. I felt too that I was a child soldier going through the emotions. I felt that Agu reminded me of a place I never wanted to be but I wished I too could experience what he experienced.

Am I writing too much?

This movie has moments. Moments where you stop and pause the movie, kneel down and say a prayer. Moments where you think back to 15 or so years ago when the LRA abducted countless children in Northern Uganda and used them as soldiers. Moments where you pause and smile. Pause and cry. Pause and rewind. Pause and gasp. Pause and dance. Moments where you fire your imaginary pistol finger guns. Moments where you chant, and scream.

I honestly don’t want to stop writing but let me do for now. Let me rewind and watch the commandant Idris Elba psyche the child soldiers. 

Interesting fact. The story was picked up in 2006, shot in Ghana in 2013 and released just a month ago. This movie is like a fine bottle of wine.

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