Could Beasts of No Nation give Idris Elba his first Oscar nom?
Idris Elba cannot play the role of 007, they said. He is too street to play the ever classy – martini drinking James Bond, they said. Pfft…too street to play Bond? Have they seen this Londoner rock a bespoke suit? Meanwhile, I’ll just leave this one here as Exhibit A. Doesn’t he look like a Bond?
To all naysayers, if you still have doubts that Idris can pull off a Bond role, I present Exhibit B: Beasts of No Nation.
In this Netflix production, Idris stamps his reputation as a world-class actor when he plays Commandant, a brutal warlord commandeering an army of predominantly child soldiers in a West African country plagued by civil war.
The movie starts out on a really comical tone but builds up to a depressing and gruesome story where little boys are trained to torture, kill and rape.
As Commandant, Idris is so despicable that some of his fans would find it difficult reconcile the man they swoon over from the rebel leader who enjoys molesting the boys in his army just as much as he likes protecting them.
I put my friend up to watching this movie (because why wouldn’t you?), and she came back to me the next morning with her review, “You have ruined Idris Elba for me. I liked the movie but did he really have to be so brutal?”
She is currently scouring the internet looking for anything that might redeem Idris from the monster he was in Beasts. Poor thing. Your suggestions for mending her broken heart are welcome.
Beasts of No Nation works because of a number of reasons but mostly because of Idris. You see, there is something about this actor. It’s not even about his tall, dark and handsome self (not that we mind), it’s about his whole presence, the power he commands when he strolls into a scene. I can’t really describe it without sounding like a stalker. But you all get my point, those who don’t I send you back to exhibit A above.
A powerful presence, isn’t this what is expected of all our James Bonds? Well, other than their obsession to woo women with awkwardly suggestive names (Pussy Galore and Octopussy still kill me to date…SMH).
You all didn’t think I was going to finish this post without mentioning newcomer Abraham Attah as Agu, the little boy through whose eyes Beasts unfold. Agu delivers a poignant performance from his age of innocence to the point he is corrupted by his maniacal commandant.
To act alongside Idris is intimidating because chances you will get swallowed by his magnitude. But not Agu, tiny as he may be, this is a boy who demands attention, whether he is just selling an Imagination TV or going for his first kill with a machete.
As you take in every word, every pause in his present-continuous narration, you realize that this is Agu’s world. The Commandant may be in charge but it is still Agu’s world, if only fate would let him take control of it.
This is a movie that people will remember for years, whether it’s because it dehumanizes little children or because Idris delivers a disturbingly compelling performance. Either way, and taking the Oscar buzz into account, Idris Elba’s powerful presence in Beasts is something the Academy Award cannot ignore. Or would they?
Posted on November 13, 2015, in Film/TV and tagged Abraham Attah, Agu, Beasts of No Nation, film, film review, Idris Elba, James Bond, Netflix, Netflix movie, Oscar buzz. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.