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Esquire calls ‘Beasts of No Nation’ the Most Intense War Movie in Years

Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation Is the Most Intense War Movie in Years

Esquire  – Sept. 18, 2015

By Stephen Marche

War in our era is different from war in other eras by virtue of one particular fact: It produces high-quality images. In the Middle East, ISIS’s main form of propaganda for recruitment is snuff videos showing assassinations and mass killings. The drone strikes used against ISIS and the other terrorists produce a removed war but one with a familiar visual drama: We see a building in a random city with a target on it, 10 seconds later a Hellfire missile hits, and there is no more building. War in high definition creates two types of visual narratives—one in which violence is used for spectacular effects, and another in which the people doing the killing can forget that they’re committing violence at all, that an act of war is just before-and-after pictures. Two new films showing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival capture this split reality: Eye in the Sky, a drone drama, and Idris Elba’s much-anticipated African warlord movie Beasts of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation, ​which is being distributed by Netflix next month, is the most brutal war film in recent memory. It tells the story of boy soldiers used in the wars of West Africa, and virtually every scene is heartbreaking. Read more.