The War Zone (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  11 June 1999 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 7,851 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 129 user | 90 critic | 21 from

An alienated teenager, saddened that he has moved away from London, must find a way to deal with a dark family secret.



(novel), (screenplay)
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9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview:
Freddie Cunliffe ...
Nick (as Colin J. Farrell)
Aisling O'Sullivan ...
Megan Thorp ...
Baby Alice


Tom (Freddie Cunliffe), an alienated 15 year old boy, finds the that opportunity for close observation of his father, after their move from London to rural Devon and the birth of a new baby, reveals a world run through with darkness and pain. Tom is unable to reconcile the life he's known what he sees with his own eyes, and blames his 18 year old sister, Jessie (Lara Belmont). Both Tom and Jessie struggle to find some path to truth and sanity as the human forces around them work in polarity with their isolation to either assist them, or destroy them. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When the worst of men hides in a family with no history.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, some involving molestation, and for nudity, language and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

11 June 1999 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Tim Roth's The War Zone  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,335 (USA) (10 December 1999)


$237,029 (USA) (31 March 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A newly updated and fully revised 20th Anniversary Edition of The War Zone (novel) was published in 2009, including both the original British and American opening chapters, an afterword by Tim Roth and a Diary of the Making of the Film by Alexander Stuart. See more »


Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

If Bergman did an abuse movie, it might look like this.
7 October 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

I went to see Tim Roth's directorial debut "War Zone" to get insight into a deeply talented actor, much as that's a reason to see Sean Penn-directed movies.

"War Zone" is a cross between "Once Were Warriors," the visceral NZ movie on domestic violence, and "Wuthering Heights."

It's visually stunning, painterly, as the dysfunctional family is set in almost Edward Hopper-still life isolation on the moors, surrounded only by the elements--lots of rain, sea and relentless wind--with the characters mostly silent you sure hear that howling wind instead of conversation-- with an occasional human being staring them down.

While the family's close-knit physical intimacy was realized in an almost 17th century way of togetherness, I'm not sure the abuse was, as I thought most incest more pedophiliac than this. So the universality of any message is lost, other than the lesson that family members are love-tropic and take it any way they can get it with some fine lines dividing functional from dysfunctional.

If Bergman did an abuse movie, it might look like this. Excellent acting all around, though as usual some working-class Brit accents can be hard to decipher by an American. (originally written 12/31/1999)

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