Blu-ray Review: Beasts of No Nation

The Commandant

Whilst most, if not all, people reading this will have had a childhood, in many places around the world it’s far from guaranteed. Growing up in a stable and relatively affluent country means that schooling, play, learning etc is the norm. Indeed, the former is a legal requirement in most of the developed world. Although there are always those who fall between the cracks, there are at least support networks in place. We’re fortunate. Beasts of no Nation is a cautionary tale of what can happen where law and order break down.

Set in an unnamed West-African country, Agu (Abraham Attah) lives in a small village with his parents and siblings. It’s situated in a buffer zone, a protected area between rebel and government troops. When civil war breaks out, he finds himself alone with no one to turn to. That’s when he comes to the attention of the Commandant (Idris Elba), a ruthless and determined commander of a group of child soldiers who offers him a way to live.

Beasts of No Nation is a powerful and emotive war drama which highlights the plight of child soldiers and the evil of those who exploit them. It’s a difficult watch at time, propelled by Attah’s fearless Agu and a career-best performance from Elba. Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) once again shows why he’s one of the most exciting American directors working in film today. Beasts of No Nation is scintillating and muscular cinema.


  • 2K digital master, approved by director Cary Joji Fukunaga, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • New audio commentary featuring Fukunaga and first assistant director Jon Mallard
  • Two new documentaries on the development and making of the film, featuring interviews with Fukunaga; author Uzodinma Iweala; actors Idris Elba and Abraham Attah; and producers Amy Kaufman, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, and Riva Marker
  • New conversation between Fukunaga and producer and cultural commentator Franklin Leonard
  • New interview with costume designer Jenny Eagan
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • English descriptive audio
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Robert Daniels

Beasts of No Nation is released on Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection on 27 September. 

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