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No Man's Land
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No Man's Land More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Chilling and illuminating with touches of black comedy

Author: Calder D. Holbrook from Chicago
20 April 2002

While I would have to say that most everything that could be stated about No Man's Land, I felt inclined to say some more here for lack of a more suitable forum in which to discuss the film (My friends lean more towards the second part of my little double feature- The Cars That Ate Paris).

First I am happy to see a war film which at no time uses sheer quantity of battle and gore to impress upon us either its bloodlust or anti-war stance. Naturally there are a lot of both. The small scale of the story would seem to stem as much from economical reasons. I would guess that the budget would not have allowed for the Spielberg approach. Even so, allowing the plot to rest on a few people and their plight allows a rich experience.

The acting was, in my opinion, excellent. Every moment seemed to me believable, and the actors facilitated very well the laughs which were squeezed out of this one. Some wasn't great. The British officer was not anything special, but he too served his purpose.

Some people have mentioned other films from the region, as well as the noteworthy Three Kings. I have to say that I see the most similarity with a late Burt Lancaster war film, Go Tell The Spartans. The filmmaking felt similarly smalltime in the most positive sense of the word. The theme of limited involvement in what is not our business exists in both films. This though, felt more effective.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

insight into misunderstood war, but nothing new

Author: exaybachay01 (exaybachay01@hotmail.com) from usa
9 April 2002

the movie did give insight into the bosnian war, a war most people pass by, or simply don't understand. Other than that there wasn't anything too special about the movie, which really makes me question why it won an academy award.

Possibly because a year surrounded in war and disaster in America they wished to notice a film on war just due to it being foreign. most of the film plays on cliches we all know and have heard before. Also the addition of 3-4 other languages besides bosnian and arab got to so one was wondering who was speaking what and, if anyone could understand them.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A View from the Balkans

Author: (tantonr@kujtesa.com) from Pristina, Kosovo
19 February 2002

I have been working in the Balkans since 1997 and thus I have more than a casual interest in the films that have been produced depicting the conflict here. I have seen most of the films on this topic, with the important exception of "Saverseni Krug" (The Perfect Circle), and "No-Man's Land" is, in my opinion, by far the most accurate depiction of the important elements of that conflict.

There have been thousands of movies about war and, in that narrow context, "No-Man's Land" is certainly not unique or particularly brilliant. However, the wars in the Balkans are themselves unique in that they are the first of what I call the "Managed Mini-Wars," overseen by the civilized world in an attempt to keep things from getting out of hand.

Where "No-Man's Land" really excels is in the picture it gives us of modern "Peacekeeping." More than any picture on this subject, it gives us an accurate and disturbing view of this noble concept, warts and all.

In this low budget microcosm of the Balkan conflict we are exposed to all the central issues of the larger phenomenon. We are treated to ethnic hatred and human camaraderie; well-intended altruism and naked hypocrisy; the vigorous "search for the truth" and casual indifference when it is found.

I recommend this film to anyone who is even vaguely interested in "what's really going on over there." It will certainly not answer all your questions, but it may help you understand why the situation is so difficult to fathom.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

VERY WELL DONE - WAR IS A WASTE!

8/10
Author: iohefy-2 from Charlotte, NC
14 February 2002

Went to see a preview of this war movie, and it was very well done, and goes to prove that although people cannot get along, there is no benefit to war. This is a touching story of the struggle between two Yugoslavian factions, and how no one wins. If you can take another war movie this should be added to your list.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Just War?

Author: crypticcrytic from Oak Park, IL USA
25 January 2002

War is absurd in this gripping film that can amuse, sadden and horrify anyone with an ounce of humanity. You might say that you have to be there to really appreciate the irony. I say I'm happy I'm not!

The tension is enormous as both sides try to negotiate escape. Intervention by the UN peacekeepers is as senseless as a US congressman on an Enron investigation hearing.

The humanity of both men is just below the surface preventing their ethnic animosity from taking its course. Any loud, jarring noise threatens survival leaving the audience wondering if there is a solution to this conflict. Or is it more humane to let the two sides settle it in a fair fight.

Do you walk away with the feeling that this is 'a just war'? No - it's just a war. And war is hell.

See this one for yourself and email me.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

War is Weird

Author: bluesdoctor from A Place is Just A Place
7 January 2002

Bosnian film on absurdity and dirt of war. Of course, couldn't be more timely, in a way. But this is about trench warfare, with clearly identifiable enemies, quite unlike the current campaign against terrorism.

Starts out well enough, with interesting, colorful, believable, unapologetically raw characters--somehow reminded me a little of "How I Won the War" (dir. Richard Lester, w/ John Lennon, 1967--"Splinter! There's a splinter in my finger!")--but then gets a bit didactic/plot-heavy with the introduction of the international media into the mix. (The movie is too media friendly, thus, by inference un-self-critical, in as much as it itself is part of the media.)

This ain't no "Catch 22" or "Slaughterhouse 5," though it leans that way. Feels like a stage play transfered to film (limited cast, limited sets, etc.) T'was a pleasure to see the UN (United Nothing) skewered for its do-nothing obstructionism and duplicity, esp. in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Has a final image you won't soon forget. Hurrah for a film without a facile happy ending!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Panoramic Ambiance That Chills...

Author: janyeap from Washington, DC
18 December 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MINOR SPOILERS... BEWARE A fabulously executed and surreal war satire that definitely is a worthwhile movie to see! Visually traumatic; mentally disturbing; and fabulously directed with a cast of solid performers! This movie is a wake-up call to a lose-lose scenario about a futile war. A modest movie without the usual Hollywood frills of blasting music scores or computer generated gimmicks, yet so impressively energetic! And it sets forth credible characters in believable situations, allowing none to come out smarter.

This movie probes into the absurd and the inhumane aspects of wars and their participants.. Danis Tanovic's three main characters enable the viewers to accept the fact that neither the Croatians nor the Serbs are victors in the Balkan wars. Mind-gripping events of the pointless war with profoundly cynical conversations between Branko Djuric's Ciki and Rene Bitorajac's Nino that clearly projects the writer's viewpoints onto the screen. Yep, two enemies, face-to-face -- in no man's land between their respective front lines! Two men, trapped by their circumstances, only to resort to violence! And in the background lies Ciki's comrade, Cera, whose booby-trapped position creates an additional tension throughout the film. Tanovic further dramatizes the story with a group of clueless and confused French UN peacekeepers and a plainly obnoxious troupe of journalists.their very presence does profess more cynicism about the purpose of international involvement in the war. Overall, this movie gives insights to, not only an ethnic war, but to the conflicting tensions that are caused by the press media and the UN, the soldiers and the peacekeepers.

Despite the seriousness and grimness of Tanovic's themes, this movie pumps up a great deal of humor.absolutely dark amidst the most tragic moments. Two thumbs up for Tanovic. his script and his directorial composition are remarkable. truly well deserving of some Oscar statuettes!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Best Screenplay Winner at Cannes?

8/10
Author: Chap1
16 August 2001

This is a story that begs to be told--a good representation of what has been a mysterious war halfway around the world--in Yugoslavia. It is an immensely interesting film, dominated by the relationship between the Serb and Bosnian, and even more, their two sides. The workings of the UN peacekeepers were also well-represented and very interesting.

The problem I had with the film, ironically, was with the script, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes. The byplay between the Serb and Croat was great, and the portrayal of the several different nationalities of the UN (of which English is the only common language) is well represented.

Unfortunately, the film does dwell into cliches when introducing the media--the dialogue on the news reports is stale and uninvolving, I heard the same words in Three Kings. Of course, one is limited when portraying live news reports, but there is always an opportunity to make it fresh--unfortunately, the screenwriter chose not to do that here.

But all in all, a pretty good film.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A live mine of a movie

6/10
Author: Karl Self from Yurp
18 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was up against "Amélie" in the 2002 Academy Awards and won. So I have to say this right up front: unduly. "No Man's Land" is a well-made movie about a very worthy subject. Amélie is a groundbreaking masterpiece.

Now that that's off my chest and I can sleep soundly again, to the movie itself. No Man's Land starts off with a small platoon of Bosniak replacements getting lost in no man's land, and being consequently viciously cut down by the Serb foes when the sun rises. Only two of the platoon survive badly wounded. One of them is being discovered a a Serb patrol, taken for dead, and placed on a live mine (in order to assault Bosniaks trying to salvage the body). The other Bosniak manages to take one Serb hostage. So now we have three wounded, inexperienced soldiers in the middle of mine-riddled nowhere. The movie takes on a parabolic, abstract note because the soldiers are all wounded, but are surprisingly active and talkative. The first half of the movie deals with the three inept, wounded soldiers confronting each other, without having the guts to gun each other down.

Then UNPROFOR gets wind of this conundrum and comes to the the rescue. This is when the movie takes on a satirical twist, and becomes more bearable than the realistically dire first half. But eventually there are no winners in this movie. The knights in white (the warring factions call them the smurfs due to their white uniforms and blue helmets) withdraw and leave a mess behind. We are stuck in Bosnia, a far sight away from cute Hollywood endings.

Overall a painful but memorable movie.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Leaves No Stone Unturned. Except One.

Author: Myshkin_Karamazov
23 July 2005

A film can be made for a number of reasons. And it can do a lot of things, ranging from entertainment to boredom. But this film is one of the few that make you ashamed.

No matter how much or how little you noticed the inhumanity in Bosnia, no matter how hard you try to remember it or forget it, you must realize this sense of shame deep inside you. Naturally, I am counting on your being human.

Why ashamed? Why us? Because what we did, what ever it was, was not enough. Help we offered was insufficient, measures we took were short of purpose, actions we took were in-consequent.

That, in fact, was confirmed last week when world leaders gathered to express their remorse, saying they were ashamed. I sincerely hope they were. They really need to be. We all do.

We had the experience of two big and many small wars, all ignited, inflamed and fueled by racism, that evil of evils, disguised in one hideous form or other. Yet, all this happened amidst us and we let it happen before our openly closed eyes.

Danis Tanovic who made this memorable film must be a genius. I wonder what such an extra-ordinarily talented young director could not achieve, given the right opportunities and proper grooming.

Back to No Man's Land. It must be understood why this film can be embarrassing for so many because of its honesty. It is not an easy film to watch. It asks you constantly which side you are on. Not a simple matter to decide under the omniscient presence of our devils--hypocrisies we are fed by "global" media, bigot-ism that characterizes our leadership, dysfunctionalaity that we have institutionalized.

This film shows us all. Both the despair and hope in a situation ready to explode any moment. Both sides of war-makers. And of peacemakers.

We see individuals unfold, show us the way they were, and what war has changed them into. A war imposed upon all of them by the greatest racist next to Adolf Hitler himself. Yet a war they themselves choose to fight, hardly trying to reconcile, to overcome hatred against and fear of one another. They kill each other in the end because they are afraid. Afraid to be human.

We observe media concerned to make their day. We see organizations at work, organizations led by aristocrats paid ludicorously large pentions merely to do nothing. They overdo their jobs, by even not letting other do any thing either. Kipling's verse about camels comes to mind. Strange coincidence.

The film catalogs all these efforts, sincere or otherwise. And it makes its point. It shows their inadequacy. How can you help when you do not understand? Or even worse, if you will not understand? Or the worst scenario, if you can not understand. Simply because you are unable to do so. Because you lack empathy. That, precisely, is what this movie makes you realise.

This is one meaningful film. And it tries its best to convey that to you. Though, this does not mean it will be catering much food for your thought or whetting your insatiable appetite for half-truths. No sir, it simply employs a near forgotten technique: it tells the simple and whole truth. It takes you inside the world of discourse, shows you around, challenges you what you would do if you were the man in the trench, in the jeep, in the office.

In order to make you ashamed "No Man's Land" leaves no stone unturned. Except the one whose firmity, that bosnian, the man in question has to rely upon.

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