Why Beasts of No Nation Should’ve Been Nominated for Something in One Shot

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am slightly biased, I know and have worked with several members of the crew of this film.

This has nothing to do with diversity, I’m gonna say that right now. I have my own opinions on that, which I’ll keep to myself for this post. This has to do with art and talent, nothing more.

For those of you who haven’t seen BONN yet, the TL;DR is it’s a story of a young boy in Africa who gets sort of kidnapped and becomes a child soldier.

I’m also not saying this should win Best Picture, or Best Actor, but one thing it should’ve definitely been nominated for is Best Cinematography, and I can sum this up with one shot.

opening shot

This. The opening shot of the film, framed through a burned out tank, in the background children cheerfully play soccer. This immediately shows the viewer that not only is violence prevalent in Africa, but people live with it. Every day. It’s lurking around every corner, and in this case it oversees children playing. It’s a part of everyday life, and life goes on despite it, but it’s always there.

That’s a powerful statement, of course in a way it’s foreshadowing what’s to happen in the film. Now, this isn’t a completely unique shot. It’s been done before, and done often. You could even go as far as to say it’s almost a cliche.

But it’s different when it works and when it’s done properly. Which in this case, it does.

Of course there’s countless beautiful shots in this film, but this one takes the cake. I’ve seen a lot of films this year, and by far this is the best shot out of all of them.

So screw the whole diversity thing, this is why Beasts of No Nation should’ve been nominated for at the very least Best Cinematography.