Cary Fukunaga burst onto the independent cinema scene in 2009 with his striking debut and immigration drama “Sin Nombre.” He’s made several celebrated films since and of course really cemented his auteur status by directing the entire first season of “True Detective.” But one of the first projects he announced after Focus Features and Universal signed him up for a big three picture deal in the wake of the critical “Sin Nombre” buzz was a little project called “Beasts Of No Nation,” based on the book by Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala.
The project was seemingly long forgotten after Fukunaga went on to make “Jane Eyre,” “True Detective,” and signed on for myriad other projects — many of which have come and gone like the adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” — but he swung back to the project last year with Idris Elba in the lead (and really the only star in the movie).
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“Beasts Of No Nation” centers on a young African boy who is forced to become a child soldier in a rebel army, after his parents are killed, which is led by a brutal commandant played by Elba (known for “Prometheus,” “Thor,” “Long Walk To Freedom,” “The Wire,” and many more). A bonus, Dan Romer, the composer behind the tremendous “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” score is also writing the music.
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A major bidding war broke out for the film last year, and in a very aggressive move, Netflix won the rights to the film reportedly spending $12 million to outshine all the other studios. And while the film will debut on Netflix, it will also receive a theatrical release to qualify for the Oscars and will land all over the fall film festival circuit. “Beasts Of No Nation” is making its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival and its TIFF status as a “Canadian premiere” basically tips its hand to the fact the picture will also be on hand at Telluride.
However, if you won’t be at those fests, don’t sweat it, because “Beasts Of No Nation” opens in limited and hits Netflix on October 16th.