Similarities and differences
In the Beasts of all nations, Agu, a young West African boy is abducted and forced to become a soldier under a ferocious commandant. The movie follows the journey of the young boy whose childhood is brutally shattered by raging war in the fictional West African country. Agu fears his commander and other men around him and he is at torn between fascination and conflicting revulsion. A long way gone begins when Ishmael Beah leaves home to practice for a talent competition in a near town shortly after an attack by Revolutionary United Front. From the particular moment, chaos envelops his life as he struggles for survival as he seeks news of his family.
Similarities and differences
Both the book and novel revolves around two youngsters who become victims of war. Agu and Ishmael Beah go through horrific experiences. At the beginning, the two characters are depicted as innocent children whose experiences turn them into adults whose priorities have shifted. Ishmael Beah had only heard of the rebels’ horrific actions significantly through hearsay and rumor. The first few chapters of the book focus on his attempt to find his way home. He, however, learns of the tragedy that had wiped out his home and began seeking information on his family’s well-being. Ripe for indoctrination, he is absorbed into the military structure. Like Ishmael Beah, Agu story is based on his child soldier life. The two characters are also different in some way. Before, Ishmael Beah lived an uneventful life, shuttered between his divorced parents’ houses. He is loved by his grandparents and enjoys rap music. While he is seen as a standout student often called upon to recite monologs at village gatherings, he was also, “a troublesome boy” in his own words. He often got into schoolyard fights. On the other hand, Agu, in his own words is “a good boy from a good family.”He seems perfectly harmless whose capacity for cruelty does not extend beyond mischief directed at his hopeless, girl-crazy elder brother.
Lieutenant Jabati is the de facto leader who coerces the boys into fighting against the rebels. Taking government’s side, he mentors the boys. However, he uses cruelty, violence and revenge. In the short run, he effectively brainwashes the boys who develop into brutal, drugged child killers. Similarly, Elba’s commandant is in the part power-hungry psychopath and part patriarchal surrogate. Under his command, he leads Beasts to displaced young Agu deep into the heart of darkness. He grooms the youngster to be a child soldier through terror, desensitization, and fatherly affection. Both Lieutenant and Commandant have a complicated mix of character with elements of good, bad and ugly. Unlike Lieutenant, the commandant leads a group of militia in a civil war in an effort to liberate and contend for power. This way, the militia victimizes civilians. The Lieutenant makes an effort to unify soldiers and civilians to fight Rebels.
In a long way gone, Esther at UNICEF compound where Ishmael recuperates after his escape from the life as a child soldier. The nurse rehabilitates him and befriends him. In the Beasts of no nations, Mr. Church nurses Marie through her illness.
The movie depicts mechanics of war and paints a visceral detail, explicit, complex and difficult picture of Agu as a child soldier. The horror Agu has witnessed numbs while the brutality he has perpetrated hardens him. He is trained to be a war criminal by his ferocious Commandant. Ishmael Beah chaos’ envelops his life as he struggles for survival as he seeks news of his family.
Beah, I. (2007). A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier. Macmillan.
Fukunaga, C. J., & Iweala, U. (2015). Beasts of No Nation. No Nation LLC.