5 Days of War is a film not out to give an accurate depiction of the 2008 Russo-Georgia War, but to gloss over any implications and make its own biased, fictitious version of it. War is a touchy subject to conduct a film on, but thankfully, many war films have been exceptionally well done and stellar in quality. This is the first one I've come across that is poor in quality.
It's so rare to see a war film robbed of all character development, emotional elements, plot, coherency, and facts. Yet, 5 Days of War shows us that it is possible and that when done in such poor quality it can further cement an event into a sea of puzzlement. The United States of America wasn't up to date come time of the Russo-Georgia War in August of 2008, and Bush had decided to leave the country out of it. A smart move if you ask me. The US was already starting to get hit with one of the most deadly recessions of all time and, already fighting two wars, it was a good plan to let two other countries just settle out the differences by themselves. So, to release a film in America about the war was actually not a bad idea. The problem? Because our knowledge on it is so limited we could easily be persuaded the wrong way. And that is what 5 Days of War appears to be doing. Persuading people the wrong way.
Georgia and Russia both committed several atrocities in the time of the war. The film makes it look like Georgia was minding its own business and the big, bad Russians just decided to blow the hell out of everything Georgian. Georgia actually helped to trigger the Russians into fighting back in the war. That part is almost wholly absent.
The film revolves around Thomas Anders (Friend), a reporter who was rescued upon visiting Iraq with colleagues after being gunned down in their car. A year later, he gets word that conflict is brewing in Georgia, so heads out to cover the story. Anders meets a young Georgia woman named Tatia (Chriqui) and another reporter named Sebastian (Coyle) where they must learn to survive during the war.
It seems 5 Days of War is less concerned with actuality and being an informative piece of work, and instead tries to be a gritty action film. Going into this expecting a nice, expansive retelling of events leading up to the war, I was presented with typical war schlock with loud, unnecessary gunfire and over-exaggerated acting all around. This is also one of the first war films I've ever seen that was void of all things emotional. It was moot in the field of playing with your tear-ducts, mainly because you don't know the characters well enough to form any sort of opinion about them. There is a scene where one of the main characters is shot off of the back of a moving truck. Her friends and companions are clearly shocked and sobbing uncontrollably. We as audience members are staring blankly wishing a tear or two would form. Alas, nothing but utter silence followed by increasing restlessness and dreariness.
At the very end, the film goes sentimental and right before the end credits we see many people who've lost relatives in the five day war between the feuding countries holding pictures of their loved ones and honoring them respectably. Even in this field emotion doesn't ring, but we do feel sort of uneasy. Think about it; you watch an empty, mundane war film that is absent of emotional elements only to be tested for tears one more time before the credits role showing people who have lost their loved ones in the same event. The whole act sounds contrived and almost unforgivable.
Starring: Andy García, Val Kilmer, Richard Coyle, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rupert Friend, Johnathon Schaech, Dean Cain, Rade erbedija, Antje Traue, and Heather Graham. Directed by: Renny Harlin.
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