Watch: The Trailer for Cary Fukunaga’s Netflix Film, ‘Beasts of No Nation’ Explores the Indoctrination of Child Soldiers


Cary Fukunaga has very quickly become a huge-name director, especially with the exposure of the dregs (aka Season 2) of post-Fukunaga True Detective.With the first season of True D, he and Nic Pizzolato altered notions of the possibilities of serialized TV production, and now he’s becoming one of the first directors to bring prestigious original filmmaking to Netflix, with Beasts of No Nation, whose trailer was just released.

Fukunaga adapted the script from Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name. The story takes place in an unspecified West African country, and follows a boy named Agu, (played by first-time actor Abraham Attah) who’s initiated into rebel forces as a child soldier after his family is murdered.

Idris Elba plays the warlord who indoctrinates him, referred to only as “the Commandant.” In the trailer — which narrows in on one emotionally pivotal scene, Elba’s character coaxes Agu to take a machete to the throat of a member of the enemy forces, rationalizing it by appealing to his grief over his murdered family members, saying, with creepily empathic persuasion, “These are the ones that killed your family, that killed your mother. Agu, go on. These are the ones, the dogs that killed your father.”

In the trailer alone, Attah astonishes. The child actor holds all of the tension of the scene in his expression, as he puzzles over the act of murder, while the man he seems about to slaughter pleads.

Along with the release of the trailer, it was announced that the film will be screening in 19 Landmark theaters across the country on October 16 — which is also its Netflix debut. Before the world gets access to it, it’ll stop at the Venice and Toronto film festivals in September.