The ugly world portrayed here isn't for all appetites, but it is depicted with a gripping authenticity.
Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2015-10-16
It poses some big questions and does so in a way that's most compelling.
John Hartl, Seattle Times, 2015-10-15
Your job is just to watch it, as hard and necessary as that may be.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2015-10-15
The country goes unnamed, the warring factions aren't always clear, but the nightmarish exploitation of children is made specific in the most vivid, visceral ways.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2015-10-15
This is a harrowing film to watch. In spite of the vibrant jungle greens and the searing sun, it's as bleak a vision of modern warfare as has ever been put on screen.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, 2015-10-15
Although it's hard not to flinch every time a bullet fires, these are not shock tactics, but frightening parts of a compassionate, well-crafted film.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015-10-15
Idris Elba gives an intense performance as the boy's commanding officer and eventual father figure; his character comes across as monstrous at first but seems increasingly vulnerable as the story develops.
Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, 2015-10-15
Crippling despair and the most fragile tendrils of hope battle for the human psyche in "Beasts of No Nation," writer- director Cary Joji Fukunaga's grim, beautiful and achingly sad portrait of man's inhumanity to man.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2015-10-15
"Beasts of No Nation" is an act of gripping empathy.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2015-10-15
It's not only a moving film but, far rarer, an important one, calling our attention to one war that never ends: The war on innocence.
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger, 2015-10-15
An effective nightmare, and a solid piece of filmmaking, strong enough to make you wish that it could have borne the full weight of the tragedy it set out to depict.
A.O. Scott, New York Times, 2015-10-15
Director/writer Cary Joji Fukunaga hasn't made a film that's quite as revolutionary as either its distribution model or casting. But it's still an involving and searing tale of a boy surviving the horrors of being a child soldier.
Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com, 2015-10-15
t is, at times, not the easiest film to watch, but it's artfully made and will leave audiences feeling as if their world has expanded.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2015-10-14
It's a credit to Fukunaga as a filmmaker-and his outstanding cast, nearly all of them first-timers aside from Elba-that Beasts is both audaciously styled and heartbreakingly human in scale.
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly, 2015-10-08
A humane and uncompromising portrait of one boy's experience as a child soldier in an unnamed African country.
Dave Calhoun, Time Out, 2015-09-09
Never soft-pedals its bleakness, but it also manages to allow audiences to leave with some shred of hope for Agu and his future.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, 2015-09-04
The unsentimental education of an African child soldier is captured with savage beauty and matter-of-fact horror in "Beasts of No Nation," a tough-minded, tough-viewing chronicle of a civil war as seen through the eyes of one of its youngest casualties.
Justin Chang, Variety, 2015-09-02
One could claim that the film is meant to present a perspective desensitized to violence-but then what is the movie sensitive to, aside from tastefully composing widescreen in thirds?
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club, 2015-10-15
Simply a bloody revel in the hideous.
Kyle Smith, New York Post, 2015-10-14
We march through pillage and rape, and the Commandant tightens his power through abuse of his youthful charges; meanwhile, the film itself, supped full of horrors, begins to sicken and dwindle.
Richard Brody, New Yorker, 2015-10-12