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In the suburban environment of 1960s Belgrade, thieves and vagabonds were first who escaped from poverty, while simple individuals who believed in ideals, paid a costly price for their ... See full summary »
Joshua is a former U.S. military official who fled to the Foreign Legion when his wife Maria was killed by Muslim fundamentalists in Paris, and now he's a mercenary, fighting in the Yugoslav war on the Serbian side against Muslims. Written by
1993, Bosnia. Having seen his wife and son murdered by Muslim terrorists, Guy has become bitter and hard and is fighting as a mercenary for the Serbs. When a prisoner exchange sees his partner take a girl he knows and try to kill her and her unborn mixed child, Guy is forced to kill him to protect them. However he then finds himself in a bitter war with a woman and child that no one wants.
I have seen this movie twice now and can find little to dislike about it, but also realise that it is not for a fun evening in with friends. The film is unrelentingly bleak and depressing as it is a look at the bitter and cruel war fought in Bosnia. The subject matter is framed around Guy, as a man who has been turned hard by the horror he has seen and it works well for this reason. We see it through the eyes of a man who has seen it all and has no more hurt left to feel. The film doesn't simply act out atrocities for us to watch but frames them within this story however we know that nothing is made up or exaggerated in terms of the bigger picture.
The film lacks any sort of traditional American cop-out (it's no spoiler to say that Guys wife and child don't turn out to be alive after all!), only the opening `this is why he's like this' 10 minutes are a little too neat and could have been dispensed with I didn't need it to explain why he was dead inside, only that he had become it due to war which was partly true. However this doesn't really take away from the film, only slightly weaken the character.
The cast are pretty good but the film is 99% Quaid's. He gives a great performance which is subtle and very downbeat. His eyes are where most of the acting occurs and he does it very well his character is very unsympathetic and has only a marginal redemption to look forward to but yet Quaid mixes it very well. Kinski is out of the film before her name has even appeared on screen, while Ninkovic does a good job, again despite a unsympathetic character. The rest of the cast are OK but hard to judge as much of the dialogue is in Serbo-Croatian and their performances are hard to judge. Faces such as Skarsgård add interest, but I did wonder why he had bothered for such a short time on screen.
Overall this is not a fun film to rent on Friday night but a bleak anti-war film that will leave you in no doubt that the conflict in Bosnia (and perhaps everywhere else) is of no value when compared to the enormous cost in terms of human life and suffering.
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