Movie Review – ‘A War’

“A War” confronts the fog of war, the confusion and realities of split-second combat decisions and its consequences… Rarely has a film captured the sacrifices and hardships of military members and their families like “A War” does so effortlessly. A must-see for anyone who’s deployed or had a family member serve down range. 

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

A War

In one of the most realistic and thought-provoking illustrations of contemporary war found in recent years, “A War” embeds viewers inside a Danish Army unit deployed to Afghanistan to foster peace within the local tribes while attempting to rid that country of Taliban killers. Dangerous foot patrols outside the wire and the relative safety of base camp pose unforeseen challenges to these soldiers, where life and death decisions must be made instantly and without hesitation. Within that struggle, we learn of the sacrifices and hardships that the burden of war places upon one family in particular.

Academy Award-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film this year, “A War” dramatically traces the personal life of Claus Pedersen, one of Denmark’s Army commanders on the ground in the most dangerous spot in Afghanistan…The Helmand Province. Faced with overwhelming enemy gunfire and no easy solutions, Claus’ valiant attempt to save his men leads to accusations of being a war criminal.

AWar2

“A War” confronts the fog of war, the confusion and realities of split-second combat decisions and its consequences. A splendid featured cast is perfectly complimented with actual Danish troops and Afghan refugees who bring authenticity through their vast experiences in that region and to the military mission.

This film excels by going further than most battle stories in showing the strains placed upon military spouses and their children. It also triumphs by exposing the how electronic devices, such as Go-Pro cameras, are a double-edged sword for soldiers fighting in the trenches. That place where the horrible realities of frontlines combat is recorded and can be used for second-guessing by others back home in the safety of courtrooms.

The perilousness that “A War” strikes with the viewer is heartbreaking. We see how military families cope with long deployments and separation. We see good, selfless men and women operating in a strange land, attempting to help fellow man—even at the risk to their own lives. And when their good intentions are challenged in the legal arena, we find ourselves shocked by the system and those placing judgement upon others without truly understanding their plight or circumstances.

Rarely has a film captured the sacrifices and hardships of military members and their families like “A War” does so effortlessly. The audience gets thoroughly invested in Claus and Maria Pedersen, their long-distance relationship and short, nondescript phone calls. With that understanding of this family’s character the charges bestowed upon Claus as a war criminal ignite dismay and sympathy. A must-see for anyone who’s deployed or had a family member serve down range.

Grade: A

“A War” is Oscar-nominated this year for Best Foreign Language Film (Denmark) and is rated R for language and some war related images.  Its running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Show Dates & Locations

February 23

Florida: Delray  Beach (Movies of Delray 5)

February 25

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City (Oklahoma City Museum of Art)

February 26

Arizona: Tucson (The Loft Cinema)

California: Berkeley (Shattuck Cinemas 10), San Diego (Hillcrest Cinemas)

Colorado: Denver (Mayan Theater)

Florida: Coral Gables (Coral Gables Art Cinema)

Maryland: Baltimore (Charles Theater)

Michigan: Royal Oak (Main Art Theater)

Missouri: Frontenac (Plaza Frontenac Cinema)

North Carolina: Winston-Salem (Aperture Cinema)

Nebraska: Lincoln (Mary R. Ross Film Theater)

New Hampshire: Concord (Red River 3)

New Mexico: Santa Fe (The Screen)

New York: Ithaca (Cinemapolis 5), Williamsville (Eastern Hills Cinema 3)

Oregon: Portland (Living Room 6)

Texas: San Antonio (Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro 6)

March 4

Florida: Sarasota (Burns Court), Tallahassee (Tallahassee Film Society/All Saints Cinema)

Ohio: Columbus (Gateway Film Center 8)

Vermont: St Johnsbury (Catamount Film & Arts Center)

Wisconsin: Madison (Sundance Cinemas Madison)

March 11

Colorado: Boulder (Boulder Art Cinema)

Massachusetts: Pittsfield (Little Cinema – Berkshire Museum)

North Carolina: Asheville (Fine Arts Theater), Durham (Carolina Theater), Raleigh (Rialto Cinema)

New York: Pelham (Pelham Picture House)

South Carolina: Columbia (Nickelodeon)

Texas: Houston (Sundance Cinema Houston)

March 12

North Carolina: Charlotte (Theatre Charlotte)

March 18

Michigan: Flint (Flint Institute of Arts)

Texas: Fort Worth (Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

March 20

California: Nevada City (Nevada Theatre)

March 26

Florida: Bradenton (Lakewood Ranch 6)

April 15

New York: Auburn (Auburn Public Theater)

May 9

Louisiana: Lafayette (Acadiana Center for the Arts)

Watch the trailer…

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.



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