Netflix’s first original movie, regardless of whether you believe in this at-home format, is a really scary and truthful portrayal of the horror of being a child soldier. Taking place in what we believe is Nigeria, a young boy (Abraham Attah) experiences this first hand when the government’s army comes and massacres his town, killing his father, brother, mother, and grandfather in one bloody afternoon.

He then goes on the run, eventually being picked up by the Commandant (Idris Elba) who is part of rebel force against the government, and enlists the young boy as a soldier, and the movie shows his experiences over several years of losing his humanity and his youth. The director and cinematographer Cary Fukunaga does an excellent job making the world look so grimy and brutal, seeing it through a child’s eyes. It’s a worthwhile watch, an enlightening experience for those who have never read about this ongoing problem, and the last scene of the movie makes all of the tough journey worth it, one of the most emotionally affecting moments of the year.

 

As for Truth, just know that the critical reception for the movie, showing that a left-ward slant ruins the film. After watching this, I would argue that outside the very, very end where there’s a speech given by Cate Blanchett, the film tries to stay fairly neutral and focus more on investigative journalism. If you like films that detail investigative journalism, this may be somewhat rewarding.

The film details Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) hiring a team consisting of Topher Grace, Elizabeth Moss, and Dennis Quaid to investigate into the shoddy military history of President George W. Bush during the 2004 election. Many people, even to this day, believe that Bush pulled strings to stay out of the draft and Vietnam at a time where military service for a president was very important for the public. Obviously, the fall guy for the less-than-perfect information from Stacy Keach’s character is CBS’s long-term anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and much of the film is about CBS trying to prove the validity of their actions once the report’s accuracy gets questioned. As an acting piece and investigative journalism piece, it’s enjoyable, but there’s a bit of cheesiness that brings it down at the end.

 

Beasts of No Nation: 4 stars

Truth:  3.5 stars

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