Netflix doesn’t stop these days at creating some of the best series we’ve seen the past years. Now with ‘Beasts of No Nation’ the streaming service also got into producing feature films. Directed by Cary Fukunaga (‘True Detective’) and starring Idris Elba (‘Luther’) the film is based on a novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, bringing to life the tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country by a warlord who takes in Agu and instructs him in the ways of war.
The score has been composed by composer and Grammy winning producer and songwriter Dan Romer. The non-traditional ambient musical world of the film uses dream-like ’70s synth, manipulated sounds of submarine sonar, and the playing of wine glass rims incorporated with bode acoustic guitar, mellotron organ, and trombone. All of the percussion for the film was played on buckets or by beating string instruments with sticks. Romer even relocated from Los Angeles to New York to work as closely as possible with director Cary Fukunaga. Both met before during the works on ‘Glory at the Sea’ where Fukunaga had worked as an underwater camera operator.
Here’s what Romer said about the ambiguous feelings he had to reflect in his score:
Despite the terrible things happening around him in the movie, it’s all very ambiguous and confusing through the eyes of Agu. He’s a kid who has just been separated from his family, so he’s naïve and in a situation where he feels protected by the Commandant, but simultaneously is torn by the fact that he’s being put at risk and forced to do these terrible, violent things.
Romer not only won a Grammy this year for ‘Say Something‘ but also co-scored the four times Oscar-nominated film ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’ He seems to be deeply involved in productions by streaming services as he also just recently scored the Amazon series ‘Sneaky Pete‘ starring Bryan Cranston (‘Breaking Bad’).
With a story focussing on a politically loaded topic like child soldiers it’s no big surprise that the trailer was produced by Intermission Film. The London based trailer house has also been responsible for the trailers of Joshua Oppenheimer’s disturbing ‘The Act of Killing‘ as well as it’s follow-up movie ‘The Look of Silence.’ I didn’t get the chance to watch the latter one yet unfortunately but the Oscar nominated ‘The Act of Killing’ definitely was one of the most powerful movies I have seen in the past years.
These are really exciting times and I can’t wait for what Netflix will come up with next. Dan Romer will be present at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival where ‘Beasts of No Nations’ will have its premiere before its release on Netflix as well as in select theaters on October 16th. You can read more about Dan’s scoring process in our article “Composer Dan Romer about scoring Beasts of No Nation.”