“This is a major, triple-A-approved, Apocalypse Now-influenced African inferno flick — a real original, like nothing I’ve ever quite seen before, like nothing I knew how to handle. Anyone who attends Sunday services at the Church of the Devoted Cinephile will have to grim up, man up and buy a ticket. (And that means women also.) Often jarring and horrific and in very few ways ‘pleasant’ but a ravishing thing, a cauldron of mad-crazy intense, something undeniably alive and probing and hallucinatory. Yes, it’s horrific but never without exuberance or a trace of humanism or a lack of a moral compass.

“We’ve all seen violent films that try to merely shock or astonish or cheaply exploit — Beasts of No Nation is way, way above that level of filmmaking. It’s often about cruel, horrifying acts but filtered through a series of moral, cultured, considered choices, about what to use and not use and how to assemble it all just so. And yet over half of Beasts is gripped by madness — a kind of fever known only by war veterans and particularly (as this is the specific focus of the film) by children who’ve been forced into killing by ruthless elders.

“It’s harsh and churning but poetic — one of those films that’ll hold up a decade or two or a half-century from now. If you miss or avoid it you’ll be embarassed to admit this down the road.” — from HE Telluride review, posted on 9.7.15.

Beasts of No Nation pops on Netflix and in select theatres on Friday, 10.16.