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|Index||35 reviews in total|
This is my first Uwe Boll film. I have only ever heard of his movies,
which mostly flop and are derided by critics and audiences. Recently, I
heard about this movie, and I saw familiar faces in the cast. I
wondered if this might be the film that convinces audiences that Boll
has ability to make a good movie. I watched the trailer and researched
production information behind the project, and all of it seemed to
point towards a great film in the making. Boll appeared a calm,
reflecting instructor in front of the camera. He spoke about the issues
of Darfur and expressed hope that the UN and NATO would finally get
involved somehow. All this added to my eagerness to see the movie for
I finally got the chance today. One night in my city, special screening in the cinema, with the assistance of STAND Canada. All the profits this movie makes on this tour will help fund STAND Canada and its attempts to raise awareness of Darfur's genocide.
Let me just say, the film is shocking. The film is ghastly in its realism, and many a time came where my hand flew up in horror and I struggled to continue watching the film. Boll does not tone down anything for the audiences, and gives us a vicious film that is simple in showing us what happens in Sudan.
In the midst of this are six Western journalists, being led by a small group of military units from UA. They take the journalists to a small village where they see for themselves what is happening here in this region of the world. Darfuri speak to them in hushed voices, restraining tears or speaking with quiet resentment towards these people who promise to show the world what is happening.
Much of the dialogue was improvised, and most of the people playing the villagers are themselves survivors of Darfur. The knowledge of this lends an eerie sense of realism to the film, and it is fascinating to see how the American and British actors prepared and developed their characters in the film.
Most prominent are Malin (Kristanna Loken) and Freddie (David O'Hara). Malin is moved by the plight of the people as she asks them questions with terrible answers. Freddie observes the village and the attitude with some hint of disgust at this endless cycle of violence, where both blacks and Arabs are guilty of killing each other. As a journalist, he is relentless, bombarding the captain who is supervising them with questions on why nothing is being done, though he is himself reluctant to put himself on the line for the people. This leads to a revelation in his character that leads to perhaps the strongest performance of the journalists. O'Hara's gravelly voice and his grim face dominate the scene where he is present, and his character develops well as he is exposed to this world.
Also present are Billy Zane, Matt Frewer, Edward Furlong, and Noah Danby. They all give their characters specific quirks and opinions on the topic of Darfur. Zane is emotionally moved by the answers he gets from the villagers. Furlong's character remains aloof and tries to escape the horror of it all emotionally. Danby stares at all around him with a determination to tell this story to the world, while Frewer's character is most concerned with the safety of his camera and taking pictures for his daughter.
What happens next is evident in the synopsis; a group of Janjaweed arrive with an intent to massacre the village. The journalists must decide whether they stay and attempt to protect the villagers with their status as foreigners, or flee to tell the world of what is going on. In two of the strongest performances in the movie, we are given the Captain (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) who is ultimately responsible for the safety of the journalists, and the leader of the Janjaweed band (Sammy Sheik) who has no need for subtlety when dealing with those who oppose him.
The film is brutal, violent, and graphic. The issues it tries to show are real and the film is very effective in giving us this scene of terror and carnage. It is certainly not for all to see; do not come in expecting to feel fine walking out.
Uwe Boll gives us a mighty film about the issue of Darfur, and relating to his previous filmography, I don't care if he made ten times as many flops as he has. All that is forgotten while watching this film, at least for me.
It is interesting to see how some people give this film a rating of 1
or less than 5 points, much of them, I am sure, without even seeing it.
I guess it has to do with the fact that is a movie by Uwe Boll, and yet
they can't overcome this stage of hating everything the guy does, even
if it is a serious matter like this. Even if someone does not like the
movie (which is perfectly valid) rating should not be less than 5. Just
because daring to show something so painful, this movie has a value in
itself. But is not my case. I really loved this movie and should I say:
If you are human, watch it. It is very difficult to watch, that is
true, is also disturbing and shocking. But that is precisely what this
film aims. We, as the six journalists in this story, become witnesses
to the slaughter. This is not a thriller or an action movie. Do not
pretend to find suspense in this film. It is a Docudrama. A very
effective one. Many talk about what is happening in Darfur, but no one
shows us what actually happens in a way that really affect us and make
The main cast is composed of well-known actors, but the others are all survivors, victims of genocide, who wanted to be part of this project. Then, we can see how they interact with each other. We can see Kristanna Loken speaking in Arabic or David O'Hara listening to a victim who speaks English with difficulty. Another interesting aspect of the film is that there is no script, just 30 pages of guidance. The actors had to improvise their lines. This film does not focus on the origins of the conflict in which each side can give their own version. Does not delve into political issues or say who is right. Only presents the conflict and shows its consequences: people dead. Women raped and murdered children. I heard that there is also a debate about what is the actual number of victims and each group provide its own numbers. But this film does't mess with that either. Simply tells us that there is a conflict, that has killed innocent people as a result. I have read reviews of some of the real victims who participated in the film, pleased to be able to tell their story and read comments from people who watched the film and confirmed that what it shows is exactly what they lived. It is not a matter of numbers.
6 journalists will document the situation in Darfur and suddenly, they become witnesses to the attack by a group of Janjaweed to the village where they did their interviews. Then, must decide whether to leave or stay and try to help. It's OK to get angry, feel indignation, close your eyes with some scenes. That's what happened to me. I even began to mourn before the real drama begins, only to see the faces and eyes of these people. This is a film very well done. It highlights David O'Hara, Kristanna Loken and Sammy Sheik and this does't mean that others do not fulfill their function. They do it perfectly. Hopefully more people can see this and feel affected. Personally, I congratulate the people who dared to tell this story, despite what these things generate and commend the victims who have the courage to share their own experiences hoping that, some time, things change.
Finally, if it will still appear the inquisitors of Uwe Boll to rate this movie with a 1, let me tell you something: Open the doors of your houses, take a deep breath, go out to see what happens in the world beyond video games, and grow up. It is time ...
A great, impressive and very, very important movie! And I think it is really no wonder that Amnesty International will showing an official screening of the Darfur movie. It is very important to show the world what's going in Darfur / Sudan. That really happens right now. So don't close your eyes, watch it! I think that this is the best film of Dr. Uwe Boll and I hope that this movie will start something in some heads. It shows the horrible and brutal reality and the Darfur movie shows it very obviously. Thanks to Uwe Boll, Chris Roland and Dan Clarke for producing this stirring movie. Kristanna Loken, David O'Hara and Billy Zane doing their very best. Congratulations!
I firstly have to say - I have watched a few of Boll's films - and have
laughed with most about how he is an awful, laughable, fly-by-night
director of cheesy adaptations of game-to-film movies.
Within watching the first 30 minutes of this film - almost immediately and forever that preconception had truly passed.
What Boll and others have achieved here is sheer honesty of the current, and sadly continuing, situation in Sudan - regarding the Jangaweed's ongoing islamofascist genocide of the peoples of Sudan.
This film truly disturbed me in ways no other had, it at once shows the desperation of the indigenous people and the inability for the AU or the UN to do anything to resolve the current issues, something that should resonate in any sensible persons mind.
This film shows the paradox between the violence of faith and the ceaseless happiness, love and essence of survival of a small community.
As others have said, this is not a film for the faint of heart or weak of mind, this is sheer honesty postulated against your preconceptions and prejudices about these issues.
There are NO "good guys" to save the day here. Though a few try. Only good people trying to forge some kind of life from harsh, foreboding nature - violently persecuted by "bad guys" who have no feeling of remorse in what they do.
I know that this is fiction, but the message it represents in its methodical way of presenting fiction as fact is truly honest, respectable and noble.
And that is why I give this film full marks.
This film may mark a time when we remove ourselves from pointless fantasy and self-interested "WOW" factors and use cinema as a reflection on our own evil behaviours.
Uwe Boll now has my ultimate respect as a film maker. As have ALL the actors who worked - without script - in a situation by situation experiential way making this film.
If you shed no tears, if you feel no pang of self-hatred as a human being whilst watching this film, I heartily suggest you remove yourself from the genepool.
Because, you are truly not worthy of being called a human.
This is my 4th Uwe Boll film review. I've slated the guy in the past -
and rightly so - for some of the atrocious and bad films he's made. I
gave up at one point watching his films hoping he'd get better....but,
as my last review about 'Rampage' stated, Uwe had made something that
wasn't complete rubbish and was actually entertaining. Whilst not
converting me from a hater, this did give me an open mind to any future
works. Which leads us to Darfur.
This film can't be called entertaining. It wasn't made to entertain but rather to raise awareness and send a message to people about the atrocities happening in Darfur. I for one had heard of Darfur in the news but knew nothing in detail until looking into to it thanks to this film.
This is simply Uwe's best film to date. This is a powerful, gritty, 'in your face' piece of cinema about the situation in Darfur. There is no happiness, no Hollywood ending. I've never found myself so angry and frustrated whilst watching a film. I don't want to watch it again - not because it's not good but because it's not nice to watch. You will feel uncomfortable and rightly so....and herein lies what makes this film very good - it will illicit emotion from you with it's non-sugar coated story telling.
My only complaint....and a common one when watching Boll films....is the hand held camera. I don't mind it's use but still Uwe overkills this method. Too much shaking makes little sense.
I thought the way this film was made - barely any scripting, the production values - was excellent. So, bravo to you Mr Boll. I think you should step away from video game adaptations and work on original projects as I think when you do this, you can actually show that you are a good film maker.
After watching this movie, I googled Uwe Boll and found that most of
his movies were flops. But for me, all his flops meant nothing and I
give him a resounding 10! What a superb story he has told! The cast
members which included real survivors were simply amazing!
Uwe Boll didn't focus on a blame game in the film. Instead, he focused on the horrors and the effects of the problem. He painted a heart wrenching picture of the sufferings.
Director Uwe Boll was successful in waking a feeling of helplessness, anger, and an urgent need to do something about the current situation in Darfur. I think everyone should watch the movie and get a feel for what's happening in that country, and hopefully that will generate enough movement to end the misery of innocent people there.
Bash Uwe Boll all you want, but I think the man's starting to learn
that when he uses his own material (or at least something that's not a
video game) he can do great work. Rampage, Postal, Stoic, and now
Darfur...all great movies. Sadly, a lot of people will probably
overlook them just because Boll has directed some bad movies.
OK...truly awful movies...but still.
The movie itself is pretty straight forward. It follows a group of international journalists into a small village in Darfur. The interview people, take pictures...you know, the stuff you'd expect journalists to do. When the village is attacked they have to decide how much of a difference they really want to make (especially given the impotent security detail they're given). Yes, the violence in this movie can be pretty brutal, but I've seen far worse and all Boll is really doing is telling the truth. As troubling as it is to watch, it really is worth it. I guess my question is where all the "A-list" celebrities like Clooney who won't shut up about Darfur...yet haven't made a movie about it. Seriously...it took Uwe Boll to do this? That's almost as depressing as the subject matter of the movie.
I would have never expected Uwe Boll to pull this off. This is an important movie that uses similar methods like Stoic to transport a dark subject into the viewers minds. I always considered Bolls takes on serious matters as a cash off (like the despicable PETA reference in Seed) but with Darfur I think the motivation came from the heart. I am all for showing things like they are and not sugarcoating reality... you really have to hit people with a sledgehammer to make them look at issues they'd rather not look at. Hats off to Uwe Boll for Darfur and the massively underrated Stoic. There is still too many haters around (and believe me I used to be one too) but with so many good movies lately (um... except the ridiculous Final Storm of course) I hope people start accepting Bolls output for what it is and not put a tag on it. This is a well done movie, so don't bitch about the shaky cam style... its in there for a reason and along with the improvised style adds to the realism of it. Both movies Darfur and Stoic managed taking extreme subjects and making people take decisions in these situations in a way that anyone can relate to, no matter how distant these situations are to his real life... and I think this is quite an achievement.
With depressing regularity, the behavior of humans on this planet
devolves into something so far removed from those qualities which are
supposed to set us apart from the other species that it truly boggles
the mind. This movie is an attempt to portray one of those instances of
inexplicable behavior, the Darfur Genocide, and it does an excellent
job of it.
The cover art on the Video release is deceiving, you will not see Billy Zane as an action hero, ala Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun or Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond - there is more than enough "action" in the second half, however.
This is also not The Killing Fields or Hotel Rwanda; it is somewhat more creative and poignant than those classics because it relies on unscripted dialogue, many actual survivors as actors and because this occurrence in the Sudan is still underway at the present time, unlike the Cambodian and Rwandan instances which were brought to the screen 10 years afterwords.
What you have here instead is a somewhat raw microcosm of genocide and the confusion of the world to deal with it; brought to you in a manner which is both immersive and which raises many legitimate questions. You could close your eyes for some parts or leave it out of your DVD player altogether - but you'll be somewhat less of a human for having done so.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hard to believe this was directed by the same man who brought us House
Of The Dead and the execrable Alone In The Dark. However, it does seem
that the previously very estimable Herr Boll is building himself a tidy
portfolio of "issue" films to accompany his lacklustre video game
adaptations and dreadful "comedies". Using a growing company of
relatively accomplished players (Jurgen Prochnow, Edward Furlong,
Kristanna Loken, Michael Pare, Matt Frewer)
Prior to this film, I had only seen one of his issue films. Heart Of America, a take on American school violence, it was ambitious but perhaps overreaching. Clunky performances (Brendan Fletcher, excepted), odd shot choices and an ambling real-time screenplay.
It also hugely oversimplified and misunderstood the motivations of the Columbine killers, if they were the inspiration (and considering lead actor Michael Belyea's remarkable physical resemblance to Eric Harris, it's a fair conclusion that it must have been).
Respect for the attempt, nothing more. Certainly nothing that prepared me for Darfur.
Don't be fooled by the advertising or its alternate title, this isn't Billy Zane and the Terminatrix save Africa. Darfur is a powerful, horrible, brutal, gut punch of a film that brings to life the very real and very recent horrors committed during the ongoing Afro-Arab conflict.
There is little in the way of plot, a group of British and American journalists and a Scandinavian aid worker are escorted by a consignment of African Union soldiers, there only in a peacekeeping capacity.
They are taken to a local village where through speaking to the locals they learn of the atrocities that have been suffered. The villagers speak in hushed tones of mass executions, rape with the threat of AIDS and abduction. Whispered atrocities that will soon become a vivid reality.
A consignment of Janjaweed approach the village and although initially confronted by the westerners and the AU force, it is all too apparent that they are impotent in the face of the warmongers, outnumbered and with no mandate to engage.
Forced to retreat and failing in their attempt to pry a small glimmer of hope from this awful situation, one of the group breaks on the journey away from the village and demands to be allowed to return to the scene of the slaughter. To what end, only he knows but he knows that he cannot live the rest of his life knowing that he turned his back and ran away (it is telling that the opening line of dialogue in the film is an American cameraman beseeching for someone to tell him how he can ever go home again he is alive to tell the tale but at what cost to his psyche and soul?).
There could be a debate about whether Boll's take on this is exploitative, essentially making a horror film about a real life situation accusations that could levelled fairly reasonably at movies like Men Behind The Sun and Nanking Massacre (I've yet to view Boll's take on WW2 atrocities with Auschwitz).
I fall on the side of nay in this metaphorical debate that I've just invented, the opening period of the film is at pains to paint the villagers as human beings and the atrocities depicted follow those documented by reporters who braved the region albeit using the device of a single village as a microcosm for the genocide.
If there is a criticism, it is that the politics, racism and historical conflict that have lead to this are ignored almost completely. The Janjaweed are presented as nothing more than faceless killers lead by a charismatic Commander (an excellent though underused Sammy Sheik)who could have wandered in from any number of action movies.
Whether the film should address these issues is open to debate.
The film does not blink away from the atrocities they are depicted frankly and brutally women are raped and shot, mass executions are undertaken by machine gun, babies are crushed and impaled, those deemed not worthy of a bullet are hacked to death with machetes.
At no point, though, does this feel like an attempt to titillate the viewer with violence, it presents itself to bludgeon and sicken the viewer with its sustained violence for over half of the films running time, there is no attempt to comfort the viewer.
This is how it is. This is what the TV news means when it uses the euphemism "humanitarian crisis".
How do you feel about it? What are you going to do about it?
Despite a fairly unrealistic redemptive coda, the westerners attempts to intervene acts as a metaphor for the West's historically clumsy and misguided attempts to intervene in African politics: impotent and inept, only caring when its too late.
The intervention itself ends savagely also: all are equal in the eyes of genocide.
An aside: interestingly I'd also recently watched Adam Curtis' excellent documentary All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace which, amongst other things, explores the horrific results of America's intervention in the Congo and the Belgian governments' inextricable links to the genocide in Rwanda. Both of these were brought to mind during the westerner's ultimate confrontation with the Janjaweed.
It may well be that the film is simply as impotent a howl of tragic, existential fury as its opening line. How can any of us go home again knowing what is going on and doing little or nothing to stop it?
A final nod to David O'Hara, as excellent as always. Salute, Sir!
One thing is for sure though, you can't dis Uwe Boll any more. He's done more than you have.
Chapeau, Herr Boll, Chapeau.
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