Is Netflix’s ‘Beasts of No Nation’ the Future of Movies?

‘True Detective’ helmer Cary Fukunaga’s excellent child soldier saga is the first film to be released day-and-date by Netflix, available in cinemas and streaming on Oct. 16.
The award season kicks into high gear this weekend courtesy of a slew of prominent releases. Yet amidst Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, Guillermo Del Toro’s gothic ghost story-romance Crimson Peak, and Brie Larson’s imprisoned-mother drama Room, one film is looking to make its mark as both an Academy Award contender and—more importantly—as a pioneer charting a brave new course for cinematic exhibition.

That film is Beasts of No Nation, an adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel from director Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Jane Eyre) about the experiences of a young boy who loses his family to his West African country’s civil war, and winds up as a child soldier in a ruthless commander’s rebel battalion. A rousing hit on the festival circuit, Fukunaga’s latest is also the first original theatrical release by Netflix, which will premiere the film on select screens this Friday, the very same day it will become available on the giant’s streaming service. A risky proposition, it’s a dual-platform approach that functions as the biggest salvo so far in a burgeoning battle between the old world and the new.

The reasoning behind this strategy is simple: In an on-demand landscape increasingly cluttered with competitors (Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, etc.), Netflix believes that original content will be the key differentiator. While developing proprietary TV shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Blackand Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp factor into that plan, a film like Beasts goes a giant step further, since Netflix views it as a potential player come Oscar night. If true, that would put Netflix on a pedestal high above its rivals, and transform the service into perhaps the premiere one-stop-shopping entertainment destination…

Read the rest of this article and check out the trailer on The Daily Beast.