Three young boys stand on the edge of a water basin. The fist is saluting repeatedly the second one. The second boy tells the third one that he is training the first one to be a warrior. Less than 50 feet away of their comrades executes an enemy soldier.
War used to be a man’s business.
I don’t mean to write this in a melancholic way. Like something has been lost and should be shed tears over. For me it is an observation from history. A matter of historical fact. History used to be my business a long time ago. Specifically warfare..Until I got fed up with it. I threw out all my books, but I kept one. It is called: Warfare in the Classical World.
It tells me that a warrior of the Greek age had to carry around armor that weighed something like 60 pounds. Not something a mere boy could carry to or on the battlefield..It requires a grown up man to do so. Mind you a modern day soldier still carries a hefty weight around, but if need be.. he can do without it in battle.
Modern warfare has been a kind of equalizer. That is to say: any man, when properly trained, could fire a gun that kills any other man. .And since no armor could stand up to a gun in the end, it inevitably caused the downfall of those who were privileged to afford armor. Back in those days personal wealth could provide protection in the days that knights ruled the battlefield. Common wealth provided the lowly citizen with the power to undo that. A beggar could kill a knight with something as cheap as a gun. And a lot of beggars could kill the few knights at random by using a lot of guns.
History shows a few key moments. The battle of Arsuf; where crossbowmen ruled the field, or the battle of Agincourt where long-bowmen dominated, but more in evidence are the movies Kagemusha.. where the samurai are defeated by firearms and The Last Samurai, that is about the final defeat of the samurai at the hands of a regular army equipped with modern firearms.
When it is possible to arm mere beggars with guns to defeat an army, it wouldn’t be illogical to arm mere boys to do the same.
And that is what movie Beasts of No Nation is about.
Here is a movie that, without reservation or pastiche, just shows the bare truth. In modern times you can even arm a boys to kill men. And what is more: they would be better at it because sense is only developed a later age. Hence at that age.. there is no sense.. and without sense they can arbitrarily kill anyone without any reservation. You just point the finger.
They are killing machines…
Arm boys with guns and guns and boys will rule you.. without mercy and predictability.Not because they are evil, but because that is how they are raised. They do what they do.. because they are boys.
Beasts of no nation shows this without reserve or pastiche. Without a message or anything. It just shows. It a well made movie.. and scary.