Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Director: Angelina Jolie
Starring: Zana Marjanovic,Goran Kostic,Rade Serbedzija
Genres: Military & War, Drama, Romance, Adventure, Action
MPAA rating: R (Restricted)
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In the first feature film from writer-director Angelina Jolie, a Muslim woman and a Serb policeman find themselves trapped in a complex relationship during the Bosnian War.
Spoiler Alerts: This movie is a very sad. Everyone that watches thishas to realize that ANY film that shows brutal rapes, murders and warscenes is going to be hard to watch. This film is no different….but Ifeel that Angelina Jolie did a fantastic directing job because you areseeing so much of the points of view from the women. I don’t think alot of you like that, but I do. I think it is fabulous to watch a warmovie from a womens perspective!!! Congrats Angelina….I loved it andI stayed awake!! Not very many war movies keep my attention. This onedid, it was made smart. It may not be correct from costumes standpointbut it feels real and if you do not know any better it seems real.
This is one of the best movies I watched about Bosnian war. It isviewed from the side of Muslim Bosnians but tries to "understand" theSerbian side. The movie doesn’t try to be an historical or factualmovie. In fact, it leads you to a state where you can think about thehuman race actions. Why we do those things? There’s no simpleexplanation. You are motivated to do some kind of things now that willmake no sense a minute later. You react by impulse, by the influence ofthe others. That’s in my opinion the main goal and the conclusion aboutthis movie. If you’ll try to obtain a justification for those actions,you can eventually find one but which will be a reflex of some otherand so on.
The movie has a lot of violence but this was the cruel war, wasn’t it?
Did we watch the same movie?
First of all before I go on I want to recommend you watch the movie init’s original language of Bosnian (and I believe it includes someSerbian and Croatian.) I’m not really sure how that works but(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_language) did a nice job ofexplaining it. So once again I think its very important for everyone torealize that my review is only talking about the version in Bosnian. Soas far as the acting went I thought it was excellent and they allseemed very believable. With the subtitles in English their accents allseemed good to me. Now of course the story line doesn’t change in adifferent language but I can’t really go into it too much since I don’twant to include any spoilers. I guess all I have to say is this, it’sdefinitely not a formula movie. If you go in expecting it to be likethe typical movie you watch you won’t enjoy it. Just go in with an openmind. Of course I am biased as I personally enjoy non-formula moviesthat are willing to take a risk. but I think there is a lot ofsymbolism in the movie and I think it isn’t afraid to try and addresssome real issues that are going on. People say the story line isdisjointed but I think it all ties together nicely at the end. Ipersonally compare it to movies like There Will Be Blood and No CountryFor Old Men. Now I would say those two are better movies but the stylesare similar. Now there’s clearly a lot of people who would disagreewith me but I felt like that was why I should write a review supportingit. In the end I found it very entertaining and well done anddefinitely recommend you watch it (with an open mind.)
A heartfelt film that will haunt your dreams and resonate in your soul (If you have one)
For those of you who are wondering whether this is a good film or a badfilm, you can’t judge it that way. This is a fictional film about avery real situation that happened in the Croation / Serbian / BalkanRegions in the 90’s. Most Americans know nothing of the horrors thatwent on during this time period because American Media and PopularWorld media gave it very little coverage at best, but mostly nocoverage at all of what was really happening.
This is about the genocide in the Bosnian / Serb War. It depicts manypoints of view, form a Muslim’s POV to A Serb’s POV and many POV’s inbetween. Serbians feared that Muslims were taking over leadership andwith the help of Propaganda fueled a hatred of Muslims in the region.It was very similar to what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.Neighbors and friends turned on each other. Lovers and Families wereripped apart. Women in captivity were raped and killed, childrenslaughtered; and the World pretty much ignored the whole situation.
Angelina Jolie learned of the conflict and researched into it and washorrified by what happened and how it was not something the mediaseemed to care about. She wanted to tell a story to make people awareof it, but she wanted it to be true and heartfelt.
The story revolves around a Muslim Woman and a conservative SerbianArmy Commander and His Father and the conflict and it does jump aroundand give you different perspectives. It unflinchingly looks a rape ofcaptive women in times of conflict. It’s not your typical blockbusteraction packed thrill ride, or your "chick flick" romantic typemovie……it’s an emotional roller coaster of love, hate, politics,religion, genocide, shame, guilt, pain and loss.
If you find history boring or fictionalized stories interwoven withtrue events tedious, then you will hate this film. But if you areinterested in something you may not know much about, this film is agreat introduction and insight into the happenings during this war. Itwill most likely make you want to research more about it, dig at thetruth and the aftermath. This movie is haunting and beautiful anddisturbing and dark….it’s not going to be everyone’s idea of a goodfilm, but in my opinion it was fantastic!
What a starter for a director’s career in movie making!
Without touching the political aspects, I try to say, I must show mygreatest respect for the director Jolie. I don’t know what moved her totouch such a subject right in the begin of her career as a director,Imust admit though, she did a great job in this: Good cast, goodstory-telling, good pace,good pictures. What else could she have donebetter?
I can understand, she stirred a lot in the mood of audience, makingpeople feel bad about what happened in front of the eyes of allworld,especially the Europeans, simply watching and waiting it endedsomehow.
And again, it must be a woman who was courageous enough to hold themirror into the faces of people, men especially with so much ignoranceand hypocrisy. And again it is men surely, claiming she did a bad job.I just say to this: good job, Angelina. Very good job, indeed.
A great film-The other 80% of the world that fights wars like its the middle ages; and the women who suffer for it.
If I could give this movie more than 10 stars, I would!
Directing: There were a few cuts that could have been better explained,but the direction of the actors, the story, and the well filmed battlescenes were very good. Excellent job from an up-and- coming directorlike Angelina Jolie! You felt like you were actually in the room withthe characters, and I constantly got lost within each character as Iwatched. The directing style reminded me a lot of "The Patience Stone",which is also a war movie centered around an innocent, civilian, Muslimwoman. I noted when I had watched "The Patience Stone" that it had avery unique, never before seen vibe. This movie instantly struck me asbeing the same. The directing really pulled you in.
Cast: Amazing! The choice of non-Hollywood actors who actually knew howto act well was just perfect. The casting itself couldn’t have beenbetter. They handled their script well, and fit into their rolesperfectly.
Story: Super interesting. The film is about an artist who comes from apartisan supporting family, thus has no or very little racialprejudices. The love interest/antagonist comes from a traditional,military serving background. Their personalities are stark opposites.But the "opposites" attract and complement idea really makes theirrelationship believable and enjoyable to watch. This film pulls youinto the realities and human cost of war. It also deals with thesubject that war is something that changes one’s character (or bringsit out), and that no side ever really wins. Of course you can win inthe political sense-but ultimately every ordinary person pays a highprice. It also touches on the issue that a person can be decent, but ifthey are born into the wrong side, there is no forgiveness or grace.War is not personal but collective, and yet at the same time carries avery personal price. The film surprised me as it had thecharacteristics of being several types of films at once. In the firstthird of the movie, it is a gut wrenching, keep you on the edge of yourseat war movie. The middle is a love story destined for failure, thelast third is a philosophical and psychological thriller. The lastthird of the movie leaves you with a lot of scenes where you’re askingyourself, "huh?", but then it’s the final scene of the movie thatreally tells you what this film was all about. It shows the ability ofpeople who would have been "good" in a normal life to be warcriminals–and how there is no escaping your fate once the cycle ofgenerations has been set in motion. It also gives legitimacy forforeign intervention. There are some battles in life that are fargreater than two people, and far greater than one generation. Theycannot be resolved by leaving them to work it out.
Cinematography: Again, really good.
So there are a lot of critics of this movie-I can partially understandwhy.It’s not a typical Hollywood movie, i.e. it’s not supposed to handyou explanations on a plate or make you feel all warm and fuzzy insidetowwards the end. And part of the critique’s of this movie are probablybecause the protagonist is a Croatian Muslim. As a woman, and aforeigner who was completely removed and even a child during when thereal war took place: I am able to completely set aside bias, and enjoythe movie for what it is. The bottom line is, regardless of who yousupport in a war, it is ultimately the women and children who pay aprice. They are the true victims. In that sense, this film is not aboutMuslims vs. Christians: It is about all civilians who are victims ofwars.
Extra kudos for the lead character being a woman. I love war movies,but more often then not they are only told from the soldiers’ point ofview. Very rarely (in fact never), have I seen a war movie with afemale protagonist. Besides this, I actually thought the film was wellshot, had a great story, and overall was just a great movie. I love itthat Angelina Jolie is actually taking her international experience andbringing it to the big screen. Any film that deals with the topic ofwar from the real-life standpoint is a movie that needs to be made inour life time. War is a terrible thing. A lot of wars happening are inparts of the world that people do not really understand. The inhumanetreatment, rape and routine killing of civilians by soldiers issomething underrated in common Western mindset.
beautifully done art-film
I thought this film was incredible, especially for a first time writerand director. The film was dark and reminiscent of many foreign artfilms that I have seen in the past. There weren’t many spoken words butthe visuals entranced and kept my eyes essentially glued to the screen.
I criticize some of the user reviews that state that Jolie did not knowher material that well or the history. She spent time doing researchbefore filming as well was working with crew and actors/actresses thatlived through that time period and or had close ties. If you’re lookingfor a complete history lesson of that time, it won’t be seen here asthis is just one small piece of a possibility.
A very beautiful, very moving film as well as eye-opening to some ofthe horrors of war in general and what is reminiscent to that period oftime.
Symbolic and Very Raw
Watching this movie was hell. Which I suppose is a bad and a goodthing. Bad because I allowed myself to sit in front of the screen for 2hours and relive the pain. Good because Angelina Jolie did a prettygood job of filming this movie. I am still not quite certain whatalways brings Angelina back to Bosnia and her affinity for our people,but I am glad that she took such an interest in what happened becauseshe is showing the world what happened. This movie has completelychanged my opinion of her. Before watching this movie, I thought thiswould be more of a sappy twisted love story between a Bosnian woman andSerb man and the focus would be on them versus the actual events of thewar. But no, what Angelina did was much smarter than that, much moresymbolistic and representative of the actual war. I took plenty ofnotes during the movie because she made it a point to use symbolism toshow you exactly what was happening in the war. She didn’t need toexplicitly tell you the messages she was trying to highlight. You couldsee them for yourself. Perhaps the Serbs picked up on this as well andthat’s why they didn’t want to show this movie in their country, buteither way the love story was just as much a part of the symbolism aswas the actual depiction of the murders, rapes, and torturing of thepeople. The love story was actually not sappy and not a Hollywood plotof getting you to watch the film, rather it was a means ofsmall-scaling the war for the viewer. By that I mean that shejuxtaposed the generalities of what happened in the war with whathappened in their relationship. If you told me that a Bosnian made thismovie, it wouldn’t have surprised me but the mere fact that an Americanactress did this who hasn’t lived a day in the life of a Bosnian duringthe war, shows you how sheer genius her script really is. The moviestarts out with the Bosnian Muslim woman and the Serb man dancing,enjoying one anothers company together in a seemingly carefree andenjoyable environment. Without a warning to them or the viewer, theirscene together is bombed, ending their blissful fate together andseparating them into the roles that the Serb army has dictated forthem. The woman is hand picked along with other women to become thepersonal slaves of Serb soldiers at one of their camps, while the manis the son of one of the largest army leaders in the war and forced tobe on the front lines. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to insinuatethat the father of the man was Ratko Mladic or not (their resemblancewas uncanny) but I don’t think that she meant that as her focusanyways. Bosnia started out the same way. Bosnian Muslims, BosnianSerbs, and Bosnian Croats lived together in relative harmony before thewar. These ‘ethnic issues’ that we talk about now were minimal andnever enough to come close to even the idea of a war this size. Theabrupt bombing of the harmonious scene between the two protagonistsmirrors the ideas of Radovan Karadic and Radko Mladic firing up theirarmy men and their quick destruction of Muslim towns. The filmcontinues, showing the mass rapes of the women day in and day out bySerb soldiers. Watching these scenes was so hard that I had to stop thefilm a couple of times simply because I knew I couldn’t watch them. Icould literally feel my body being affected watching this movie becausemy heart started to pound for these women, I started to shake, and Icouldn’t breathe as I watched what happened to them. It’s not like thiswas my first time watching a film about Bosnia. I’ve read, heard, andseen plenty of things about Bosnia to tell you all of the same factsthat someone would whose actually lived it. The major difference,though, is that I haven’t lived it and whenever I watch these rapes,killings, and torturings happen, I just can’t even function. I feelnumb. I feel like all of my insides have turned to ice. I feel like I’mwatching this outside of my body. The war in Bosnia was actually thefirst was where sexual crimes against women were legally considered awar crime in the Hague and international courts of law. Angelina knewthat and obviously repeatedly wanted to share that message throughoutthe movie. Rape was just another means of the Serbs wanting to controlBosnia. Raping these women was the Serbians way of showing power overthem, showing power over the Muslims. Raping these women was asymbolism of raping Bosnia of half of their power and sustanenance oftheir society. It doesn’t matter that maybe the exact charactersAngelina used were fictional, her point was that this is what reallyhappened. She didn’t make this just a scene in another movie. These arethe stories of women from Bosnia who have survived the war. These rapeswere real and as horrifying as it is for you to watch them, these womenhave to live with what happened for the rest of their lives. Thatthought, moreso than the actual rape scene, is what scared me the most.
This is truly one of the best films I have seen. Its a portrayal of oneof the most recent genocide’s in history – a job well done. Jolie mustbe congratulated for her choice of scripts and her superb directing.The actors were also above average. If you haven’t seen this, you willbe missing out. Ignore all the poor reviews thus far – I did, and didnot regret it! For those who have seen Hotel Rwanda and the Last Kingof Scotland, and enjoyed the historical basis of these films, thismovie will be another welcome addition to their watch list. Being aperson with close friends in Bosnia, I can tell you that what you seein this film closely resembles what really happened in the genocide ofthe 90s.
Don’t let them discourage you, Angie!
Everyone’s been fuzzing about this movie, reviewing it and commenting(mostly bad things) about it, so I wasn’t very eager to watch it. Avery good friend of mine with whom we have similar taste in books andmovies told me that it was not worth the time, so I didn’t bother towatch it, because honestly I don’t think that it’s a good thing whenactors become directors, singers – actors etc… But, when I finallydecided to see this film, I wasn’t expecting very much and waspleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it very much. I felt it. I know thatmost of the audience (especially the one from the Balkan) is thinkingthat an American actress don’t have anything to do interfering with theBalkan history, but I think that Jolie studied her subject on thematter and did an amazing job presenting it to the worldwide audience.The thing about this story being a fictional one set in war thatactually occurred is also a fact that shouldn’t bother the audience andstop it from enjoying this great film, because I don’t think it’s fairto enjoy a fictional story about Jack and Rose, two love-birds onTitanic, and criticize this well written story about Ajla and Danijel.My point is, Angelina Jolie proved herself as a great director andproducer, and others who say otherwise are just not happy with thisfilm because it touches one serious matter that is still going on inBosnia, even though the war is over.