7.4/10
8,103
130 user 91 critic

The War Zone (1999)

R | | Drama | 11 June 1999 (Italy)
An alienated teenager, saddened that he has moved away from London, must find a way to deal with a dark family secret.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Four children try to hold things together and play a family in their isolated prefab house after the death of their parents. As they begin to deteriorate mentally, they hide their mom's festering corpse in a makeshift concrete sarcophagus.

Director: Andrew Birkin
Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Andrew Robertson, Alice Coulthard
Nil by Mouth (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The family of Raymond, his wife Val and her brother Billy live in working-class London district. Also in their family is Val and Billy's mother Janet and grandmother Kath. Billy is a drug ... See full summary »

Director: Gary Oldman
Stars: Ray Winstone, Kathy Burke, Charlie Creed-Miles
Blood (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After not having seen each other in five years, Chris Terry goes to visit his younger sister Noelle Terry in Montréal. Their lives, both together and apart, have been turbulent ones with ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Ciccoritti
Stars: Emily Hampshire, Jacob Tierney
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A writer, Ned Kendall, is asked to return to the family home by his sister Sally, to say goodbye to his father who is dying. The family home is in a very remote and isolated area. While ... See full summary »

Director: Rachel Ward
Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Maeve Dermody, Rachel Griffiths
Little Sister (1995)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After several years without contact, Martijn visits his sister Daantje, who just started to live on her own in Amsterdam. He tells her he is going to make a documentary from her life, and ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Jan Westdijk
Stars: Kim van Kooten, Romijn Conen, Hugo Metsers
Gemini (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A domineering mother with a seemingly perfect family in Argentina is unaware of a taboo relationship happening with her youngest children.

Director: Albertina Carri
Stars: Cristina Banegas, Daniel Fanego, Maria Abadi
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Guilherme and Sofia, brother and sister, grow up sharing experiences and slowly discovering their sexuality. The thing that Sofia doesn't know is how far Guilherme will go to keep her inside his own perverse, dark and perfect circle.

Director: Marco Martins
Stars: Rafael Morais, Daniel Duval, Joana de Verona
Kissing My Sister (TV Movie 2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Teen brother and sister who rarely get to see each other fall in love with one another one summer.

Director: Dror Zahavi
Stars: Florian Heiden, Alexandra Schalaudek, August Zirner
Close My Eyes (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After some years of tension, Richard begins a sexual relationship with his sister Natalie, who is now married. The relationship between Richard and Natalie proves dangerously obsessional. ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Stars: Alan Rickman, Clive Owen, Saskia Reeves
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Daniel and Ana, brother and sister, best friends. Both are at pivotal, defining moments in their contented lives. Ana is about to be married, Daniel is a gregarious teenager discovering his... See full summary »

Director: Michel Franco
Stars: Dario Yazbek Bernal, Marimar Vega, José María Torre
Alpine Fire (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A year on an Alpine farm: an older couple have two children, Belli, who wanted to be a teacher, and the younger Franzi, deaf, and although he works like a man, child-like. Belli teaches him... See full summary »

Director: Fredi M. Murer
Stars: Thomas Nock, Johanna Lier, Dorothea Moritz
Drama

A social worker in New York takes an active role in saving children from dangerous situations at home.

Director: Tim Roth
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
Dad
...
Jessie
Freddie Cunliffe ...
Tom
...
Mum
...
Nick (as Colin J. Farrell)
Aisling O'Sullivan ...
Carol
...
Lucy
Megan Thorp ...
Baby Alice
...
Barman
...
Nurse
Edit

Storyline

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 <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

|

Language:

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)

Gross:

$237,029 (USA) (31 March 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Tom:
  • I saw you.



Jessie:
  • Saw me what?



Tom:
  • In the bath...



Jessie:
  • Yeah?



Tom:
  • What were you doing?



Jessie:
  • What do you think? I got in and he got out.



Tom:
  • That's not what i saw.



Jessie:
  • Well, that's all it was.



Tom:
  • Where were you?



Jessie:
  • It's a pretty weird thing you're suggesting, if you're saying what i think you're saying. I haven't told you to f@ck off or anything, which i probably should've. Nothing happened, OK? I'd tell you.



[...]
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the best of the 90's
15 March 2005 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Strange, opaque and deeply unsettling, the War Zone is the only way a film about a topic as horrifying as incest should be. Tim Roth, realizing that the family of the film is too far gone to elicit much empathy from the audience, simply tries to convey the story as truthfully as possible. With crushing results.

At the beginning of the film, we're introduced to a nameless clan: a genial father (Ray Winstone), a mother exhausted from recently giving birth (Tilda Swinton), a sullen teenage boy (Freddie Cunliffe), and his strikingly beautiful older sister (Lara Belmont). All four have recently moved from London to the remote, seaside village of Devon, leaving the two kids feeling isolated and adrift.

What follows for the next hour or so is a brilliantly confusing experience--Roth presents a series of odd quirks about the family that makes the audience question what is merely eccentricity and what hints at something darker. Why, for example, does the family walk around naked most of the time? Don't those siblings seem slightly too "affectionate" given that they're teenagers? What exactly does the boy see his father doing with his sister in the bathroom that bothers him so? All of this mystery leads up to an absolutely harrowing scene which leaves no mystery as to the dynamic between father and daughter. More emotionally explicit than physically so, the scene is rightfully regarded as one of cinema's more horrible acts of on-screen violence, yet doesn't feel gratuitous in the slightest.

This film is as sparse as possible, with almost no inflection or melodramatic effects. Scenes are generally shot in long takes with a static camera (gorgeously framed in widescreen). There is little excess dialogue, and almost no music. Often we are placed into the middle of confusing scenes that are open to numerous interpretations. We more or less have to come to our own conclusions about what is going on. The teenagers are as inexpressive and introspective as teenagers in real life, which makes there unexpected emotional outbursts all the more powerful.

Why Roth hasn't made any other films is beyond me. He has a lean, cinematic sensibility which is unmatched by any other actor-director. I hope he gets an opportunity to use it again soon.


57 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
was the baby sexual interferred with irismcmurrough
In the last scene, what is the meaning of closing the bunker door? tripijb
More movie Recommendations ? winningi
understanding the daughter ron-o-1
Domestic Violence Lindz1986
A couple nagging points john-nicholas
Discuss The War Zone (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?