The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Beasts of No Nation

Stories about the horrific African wars that recruit young boys into their armies are a devastatingly difficult subject manner no matter how important it is to shine a spotlight on it. Based on a 2005 novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala, it was written, shot and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective Season 1, Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre) who worked on it for seven years. Netflix which bought the worldwide distribution is a game changer, will be released to it's subscribers simultaneously with it's theatrical opening. Some of the main theater chains consider this a violation of the 90-day release window, so the film will have a limited release to smaller independent theaters. It's unfortunate because the film not only won the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, it was a shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

In an unnamed West African country that is strife with civil war, a young boy Agu (Abraham Attah) lives happily with his family. His father is a teacher, his mom takes care of him, his older brother, a younger brother, and baby sister. Their village is somewhat safe and guarded. But political upheaval causes fighting to overrun the villages. His mother and younger siblings are evacuated to the city, but Agu is left behind. When is older brother and father are killed, Agu escapes into the forest, alone and scared. He's eventually captured by a unit of mercenary fighters lead by the charismatic and seductive Commandant (Idris Elba). He runs the rag tag battalion of village escapees. Each new recruit is subject to hazing and those who don't pass muster and eliminated. Commandant takes a liking to Agu and takes him under his wing. Thus begins the slow but intense brain washing of the vulnerable young boy.

The harrowing life that Agu must endure if a far cry from his once idyllic life in his village with family and friends. As he buries his childhood during a symbolic ritual by the unit, he is reborn as a child soldier. His best friend is another boy soldier Strika (Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye). He doesn't speak but understands what Agu is experiencing that forges a bond between them. They endure the battles, lack of food, long marches, death all around them and the loss of innocence.

Idris Elba is amazing as the Commandant who mesmerizes his troops with his speeches and chanting. Abraham Attah who was discovered playing soccer in Ghana had never acted before. But his portrayal of the Agu is so soulful and heartbreaking that it's worth consideration for awards. So what if main theater chains don't like Netflix, it's a movie worth seeing, with a little touch of hope at the end.
(Review by reesa)

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