Welcome to Sarajevo (1997) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
60 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
more advocacy than story
SnoopyStyle12 April 2017
It's 1992 Sarajevo. Reporters are navigating the random everyday violence in the besieged city. Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) is a British ITN reporter. Jane Carson (Kerry Fox) and Annie McGee (Emily Lloyd) are the producers. Risto Bavic (Goran Visnjic) is their new fixer. Jimmy Flynn (Woody Harrelson) is the flashy hard-charging American reporter doing big stories. Michael starts doing stories on orphanages to shame the international community. He meets aid worker Nina (Marisa Tomei) who organizes an UN convoy to transport the orphans.

This is more advocacy than story. The real situation is devastating and needs to be told. The movie needs a more compelling cohesive plot. Stephen Dillane is a solid character actor but he's not really a movie leading man. Woody Harrelson is not in this that much and Marisa Tomei is in it even less. There are harrowing things happening in this movie. It uses news footage. It compiles a dark picture but the story is not gripping enough.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
The Sad Effect of a War in the Children
claudio_carvalho5 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
In Sarajevo, the British journalist Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) is correspondent of war, who decides to cover the orphans' situation due to the Bosnian War. Through successive matters, he tries to show and sensitize the public opinion about this ignored war. Meanwhile, he gets emotionally involved with Emira (Emira Nusevic), a young Bosnian girl. He decides to take the chance and brings her to the breast of his family in London. Some time later, the girl's mother is found alive and requests the care of her daughter. Michael returns to Sarajevo to convince her to let him adopt Emira.

The first time I watched this impressing movie was in 1999 and indeed it was the first film about the Bosnian war that I have seen. The director Michael Winterbottom makes a magnificent work, alternating reality and fiction through images. Based on a true event, he uses real war footages intercalating with his film to show the atrocities of this war, having the focus on the children. Stephen Diallane, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Emira Nusevic and the rest of the cast have brilliant performances. There is a very special and cynical scene that I like a lot, when the American journalist Flynn apologizes to a local in the name of the American people for the non-intervention of USA in this dirty war. This is maybe the best line of the great actor Woody Harrelson in this excellent movie. This week I have watched five films about this war and all of them are really excellent and highly recommended. If the reader likes this theme and wants to see different approaches, do not miss 'Harrison's Flowers', 'Vulkovar', 'Pretty Village, Pretty Flame' and 'Shot Through the Heart'. I intend to see again the magnificent 'Savior' and 'No Man's Land' along this week also about this horrible war. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): 'Bem Vindo a Sarajevo' ('Welcome to Sarajevo')
19 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An impacting and worthy film that uses a solid narrative well within the delivery of the bigger picture
bob the moo30 October 2006
With the two sides in the Bosnian war producing significant civilian casualties a third force enters the conflict zone. Armed with cameras and microphones, they are the eyes and ears of the West through the daily news. Among them is serious British journalist Michael Henderson and the more flamboyant American Flynn. While the latter is concerned with his ratings and manages to stay relaxed with all the violence around him, the former becomes tied up with the plight of the children in an orphanage on the front line and loses his distance from the story as he tries to force someone, anyone, to get the children out of the war zone.

The film opens with a scene that sums the evil nature of the Bosnia conflict up perfectly when one of a wedding party is picked off by a sniper. It is an impacting way to open a film and the script more or less maintains this across the film in one way or another. The plot is hardly anything too original as mostly it relies on Henderson getting personally involved in his story to provide a narrative frame for the conflict but the film uses it well. Winterbottom was a good choice for director because he doesn't over-egg the emotion or push the narrative beyond what it can cope with. Instead he uses it well to tell one story without ever losing sight of the fact that it is just one story among millions. This worked well for me as I found the bigger picture to be the more engaging side of the film but appreciated the structure given the subject by the narrative; this way it remains impacting on a political level while also looking at the personal, human level.

With the time the relevance of the film will fade as the conflict becomes something in the past – I don't mean this coldly but just suggest that something fresh in our collective memories will be of more relevant than something in the "past". The film retains its impact because it does shown more than the news showed but what I found more distressing was the fact that the same attacks on the media and our politicians could be launched about many conflicts since. Welcome to Dafour, Rwanda, Iraq – take your pick. How many times do we see our "leaders" quibble over the legal definition of genocide while the news footage shows us images of corpses and the suffering of civilians? Winterbottom uses news footage within his material to good effect to highlight the stupidity and hypocrisy of the world leaders in the face of such horror and few viewers will take too much issue with the lack of balance in this regard; it is a strength of the film that these points are still valid but I truly wish that they weren't.

The cast take to this serious material well and produce some solid performances while also knowing their place within the bigger picture and not showboating or overdoing things. Dillane is the best example of this as he is technically the lead character but yet holds back and shows restraint to the point of keeping his story from dominating the film – it is a good show and Winterbottom also deserves credit for helping him produce this. Looking at it cynically, Harrelson and Tomei were added to sell the film and this is mostly what they do; however both are solid albeit in smaller roles than some viewers will expect. Nesbitt, Fox, Visnjic and Nusevic all produce solid support and more than stand up alongside Dillane's lead. The most important delivery is that of the conflict itself and Winterbottom does that well. Some viewers have bemoaned the lack of context or explanation of the conflict but to me this was a good call because what matters is that civilians were slaughtered and suffering, when this is the case what does it matter what the reasons for it are? Overall then a solid and impacting film. It doesn't have the most balance in the world but it is well worth a watch for what it does well and, sadly, the continuing relevance in current conflicts around the world today.
1 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Powerful, engaging and well made
Gordon-1129 January 2008
This film is about a group of journalist covering the news of the war in Sarajevo. They have decided to take the matter into their own hands as the West fails to do anything about it.

"Welcome to Sarajevo" is a striking, engaging and saddening drama. It is raw, brutal, and it evokes so much emotions in me. The usage of real documentary footage in the film enhances the realism and shock effect of the film. Indeed, it is hard to watch all the dead bodies on the roadside. And the United Nations spokesman saying there are thirteen places worse than Sarajevo provokes so much anger in me. The bureaucracy is scandalous and heinous. It is so hard to see lives lost, dreams shattered and cities destroyed. One of Flynn's lines about if the attacking side was reversed may well be right. Apart from raising awareness, sympathy, despair and anger, "Welcome to Sarajevo" also looks at ethical issues of who is to decide what is right for the people. "Welcome to Sarajevo" is engaging and well made. It deserves more attention than it is getting.
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
A reporter who is not just here to report
sol-19 November 2017
Sent to Bosnia to report on the war in the early 1990s, a British journalist finds it hard to stay neutral in the conflict in this war drama from Michael Winterbottom. The film is based on the true story of a journalist who adopted a girl orphaned in the war. "We're not here to help; we're here to report" he is reminded early on, but can he just stand by and watch so many children devastated by war? 'Welcome to Sarajevo' is a noble attempt to shed light on a sad chapter in history seldom portrayed on screen, but it is also admittedly a bit of a mess. The story is very unfocused as it tries to cram so much war horror into the plot. The protagonist does not even meet and think about adopting the girl until nearly halfway in and even then there are few scenes of them bonding. His affection for her is never well conveyed and we barely get a sense of her desire to leave the country. Winterbottom's inexplicable choice to only subtitle certain portions of Bosnian dialogue is awkward too and the blaring music soundtrack never quite feels right. Stephen Dillane makes for a decent lead and the film provides an admirable snapshot of 1990s Bosnia, but the overall film unfortunately leaves a bit to be desired.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Very Good Drama
freemantle_uk15 January 2010
The Bosnian War was one of the most brutal war in recent years, with hundred thousands people being killed, and Bosnians and Muslims were killed. It was a conflicted that showed the weakness of the UN, and took time for the West to get involved. Sarajevo itself became a war zone the centre because a no-mans land.

Welcome to Sarajevo starts in the early days of the Bosnian war in 1992. Sarajevo is besieged by the Serbian forces and Bosnians are being rounded up to locked up or killed. An ITN reporter Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) is assigned to cover the war-zone. Sarajevo is a place where snipers are hunting on the roof-tops and shooting people who dare cross the streets: including children and journalists. In the city Michael befriends Flynn (Woody Harrelson), a American journalist who has a seemingly uncaring attitude, but is really interested about the people. Michael ends up reporting about an orphanage and the children on the frontline. He becomes very involved with the story, reporting on it every night and start a campaign to get governments involves. When a Children's Charities is able to evacuate some children and babies to relatives abroad and in Italy Michael becomes involved. He ends up taking a care of one nine year old girl, Emira (Emira Nusevic), who ends up living with his family based in London.

This film is based on a true story, with some names and events changed to moral and dramatic reasons. But the issues of the film is the same. Michael Henderson was bit like Oscar Schlinder, an ordinary person thrown into a extraordinary circumstances. But the twist is as a journalist he was not meant to get too involved, but he broke that golden rule of journalism. It is a film about the ethics of journalism and when someone should get involved with the issues there are reporting. The film is also about the war, and random killings that happened in the conflict. Civilians were hurt and killed and non-Serbs were rounded up. Serbia has always seen itself as a nation that had a right in nations like Bosnia and Crotia, and wanting to ensure power for the Serbian minorities. Serbia has often been a power broker in the region since World War I. Sarajevo itself was a shell of a city, with it being a live and death struggle. Electricity cuts are normal, and water supplies are short. But some people still try and make a go of it in the city until the fighting increases. The film is also about the inaction of the UN. They were late getting involved, and even the troops there didn't do much at first. The West were reluctant to get involving, fearing that it would be a propaganda coup for the Serbs. This was not a good time for Western nations and the UN at this point in history.

The acting in this film was excellent, as expected. No one let the film down. They was a fine tort script, preventing the film getting bogged down, and find direction by Michael Winterbottom. They are some shocking and surprise moments, giving the film a more edgy film, and the use of hand-held cameras added to the realist feel. There are some continuous shots which I live and good editing. The use of news footage was also fitting and well done, giving the audience some background information and showing the wider affects of the war with the international community. However, I think some of Winterbottom's music choices were ill-fitting. He used some classic pop song which felt out of context. It does sometimes work, like in Vietnam war film, but that is normally to show the sixties setting and because the films have a longer timeline.

However, this is a worthy film about an important war. If you like this then I also recommend Hotel Rwanda and Shooting Dogs are essential viewing.
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Documents the relative disinterest America had in foreign conflicts before experiencing a taste of some firsthand.
Poseidon-33 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Prior to September 11th, 2001, Americans could scarcely imagine what it could be like to experience large-scale, life-threatening violence within one of its cities. The slaughtering of civilians in the World Trade Center attack brought the reality of terrorist savagery to eyes that typically preferred to remain closed to such unpleasantness. This film, released in 1997, indicts those closed eyes which placed more importance on the love lives of British royalty than on the desperation of the citizens (including many children) of a city in the throes of immense brutality. Dillane plays a reporter in Sarajevo, Bosnia, sent there to cover the strife between warring factions of Serbians and Muslims (the ultimate victims being the people on the street or the children left behind in the various skirmishes.) He is, by now, desensitized to the everyday killings and maiming brought on by the struggle, but eventually finds himself caring about the fate of one young orphan girl who he befriends during a story. He is joined by other reporters played by Harrelson, Fox, Nesbitt and Lloyd who pass their time in between events by chatting over cold coffee or developing tentative relationships between themselves. There isn't a great deal of time to kill, however, since the city is under a nearly constant state of siege with bullets flying and bombs going off at irregular intervals. The entire situation seems surreal despite the blending of actual video footage paired with scenes for this film. Even though the US was hit hard on September 11th, this is an ongoing, daily battle with danger seemingly around every corner. Visnjic plays a Sarajevo resident whom Dillane hires as a driver. Visnjic evolves from a sensitive, caring young man into a rather detached, desensitized soldier over the course of the story. His character is actually more compelling than Dillane's thought Dillane does an excellent job in his role of observer and potential participant. Appearing somewhat briefly is Tomei as a relief worker, arriving to collect some orphaned children who have relatives outside the country. She and the other more "name" actors in the film try not to draw too much attention to their celebrity and are partially successful. A cast of complete unknowns may have made the film a bit more authentic, yet also may have relegated it to a lesser amount of interest and box office income than it received. The story behind the warfare is complex and complicated (to say nothing of deep-rooted) and isn't particularly well-covered here. This is more about the role of journalists in the field and their struggles with personal interest in their stories. It tries to cover a few too many bases, but does present some striking images and some jarring (and downbeat) elements which make it worth seeing. Part of the script (involving orphan girl Nusevic) is based on a true story.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Powerful and political
rogerdarlington10 September 2006
The wars in former Yugoslavia were prolonged and bitter and - need we remind ourselves - located in 'civilised' Europe, so it is surprising that the conflict has resulted in so few films. It's almost as if there is a collective guilt about the weakness of international involvement until the Serbs tried to subjugate Kosovo and NATO finally intervened. Hollywood still shows no interest in this topic - this movie is a largely British effort, although it features two American stars (Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomie)in support roles.

The narrative, most of which actually occurred, is set in the Bosnian capital Sarejevo and - like "Under Fire" dealing with Nicaragua - focuses on war as seen through foreign media correspondents. It is based on the book by the British ITN journalist Michael Nicholson entitled "Natasha's Story". The reporter Michael Henderson (played sensitively by little-known Stephen Dillane) finds himself unexpectedly involved emotionally in events to the extent of deciding illegally to bring supposed orphan Emira out of the war-ravaged country and to his own home in England.

British director Michael Winterbottom shot the film on location in Sarjevo itself and parts of Croatia and Macedonia and this, plus the semi-documentary style of filming, gives a powerful authenticity to the work. There is no political background or scene-setting: we jump straight into the carnage and are as confused as the Bosnians being shelled and shot at. The political messages come from short but effective news clips of quotes from international figures, showing the powerlessness and incapacity demonstrated by too many of them at the time.
2 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
You are here; here is where?
Howlin Wolf6 September 2006
Some people can never develop an affinity with their environment long enough to know peace. Our restlessness and urge to destroy means we only absorb snapshots of the world. We can never be content with untouched beauty, something usually spoils it.

Violence can make strangers of people. Even if you risk your life with someone you don't often have a clear gauge of what they're like. You can be side by side with someone or they can be on your TV screen, and you still only have a fleeting knowledge of them. Any connections you think you do make can be destroyed easily and abruptly by a well-aimed bullet.

This life is transient. The Balkan regions were once a beautiful part of the world; now too many people will only remember it as a hub of civil war. Maybe one day, out of the wreckage peace will come again. Then relationships can be built, following the example of those who have been lucky enough to leave and start a new life; but ties can not be held strong across a ravaged backdrop, that's just the way it is.

This film lets us see the clear joy of simple living, and the mounting cost of permanent unrest. Anyone who appreciates powerful cinema should be moved to a state of intense contemplation by watching and collectively assessing the damage that has been done.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
not the best bosnian movie
NijazBaBs28 March 2021
This is somewhat good because it looks realistic and is focused on important historic event of my country and city. Footage, at least some, looks to be taken from real war, details look bare, and messages clear. There are few emotions such as empathy and shock. Seems too harsh to see such small kids close to such dangerous soldiers, criminals, weapons. But I did not like the quick talk, even from english side, then shallow emotions and footage, and negativity in form of immoral, hyperactivity, neglect, disorder, irresponsibility, recklessness. Too many dumb decisions by all sides. Seems just inappropriate to go back out of war zone then go back, or to wish to take your child in the middle of war (aggression). Also graphics are bit too dark, quick, shallow. Immoral are children looking almost naked in middle of war and showing their bodies in that Miss of the Year. Also immoral smiles of those English people in middle of war. There is no quality and depth like in better Bosnian movies. Some things are more easy to understand by Bosnian people both because of language and because of previous war experience. Even I as someone who lived in ex Ljubica Ivezic orphanage (today called differently) could not understand most stuff, and could not recognize relatives. Either because too unclear presentation or fake (different) characters. Bit magical to be able to in the middle of war, be on the sea or in different country where peace is. But still this is one lower quality movie, more like vlog.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
"War movie" doesn't automatically equate to "important movie"
Karl Self23 March 2014
This is a well-intended, opinionated movie by an important director, based on real events and supported by a solid script and production and an A-list of actors. As a fellow IMDb reviewer put it in a nutshell: "An important movie; wish more people would see it". And yet I totally disagree. The movie doesn't deliver and I think that only people should see it who completely draw a blank on the post-Jugoslav wars of the 1990ies and who are willing to head straight for the library to find out what really went on.

The story is about a bunch of ITN reporters -- in actuality, British newscaster ITN played an important journalist role in the war -- in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo reporting on the early stages of the war. At the beginning of the movie we see a wedding taken under sniper fire and the bride's mother being killed. In reality, this incident is considered to be the starting point of the siege, although in reality a middle-aged man was killed, and it was a Muslim Bosniak shooting at a Serbian-Bosnia wedding (the movie never makes this clear).

The movie then weaves its plot -- one of the ITN reporters takes pity on a young Bosniak orphan girl, smuggles her out to the UK and adopts her -- together with a tour d'horizon of the most salient events of the Bosnian war. The shooting at the wedding, the grenade shelling of the market, the cliff-side massacre, the concentration camps, the cello player of Sarajevo.

I didn't get why the journalist had to formally adopt the girl as opposed to act as her warden.

Overall, this movie will give you the impression that war is hell, which I presume it is, but it doesn't tell you much about that war in particular except visual impressions of cruelty.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A Story about a war they all ignored
CharltonBoy2 October 2001
Welcome to Sarajevo is a story within a story. The main story is about an ITN journalist who while working in Bosnia decides to adopt a young bosnian girl who has been left in a childrens home by her mother when the fighting got to bad. While we see this story we see how the war was fought in Bosnia and how the journalist's struggle to get their TV company's to take the stories seriously. We so how the Serbs killed the muslims and how they kept them in prisoner of war camps just like the Nazi's did in world war two.

The thing that strikes me is that while all this evil went on we never really heard to much about it over in the Uk and i guess that is what the film makers tried to get across to the audiance. Woody Harleson's character says at one point in the film "if it had been Christians being murdered by muslims and not the other way round, the world would have taken notice" Which i suppose is very true.

The film is shot in many different ways to gve a feel of the conflict , it also shows real footage of the war which gives this film a cutting edge.

The acting is ok ,Stephen Dillane at time seems a little uninterested but perhaps that is his way of acting. I cant help thinking this film lacks something but i cant quite put my ffinger on it.perhaps it's not long enough.

7 out of 10.
0 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Heartbreaking story
SKG-22 March 1999
Yes, we've seen the story of the detached journalist in a war-torn country who decides not to be detached anymore several times before (UNDER FIRE, SALVADOR). The difference here, however, is at least in films like UNDER FIRE, the enemy was one side of government. Here, the enemy is apathy, because while ethnic cleansing goes on, few care, and we see Henderson (Stephen Dillane) acts not only because he's moved by the child he rescues, but because almost no one else is. The line that perfectly sums it up is when the U.N. delegate calls Sarajevo the 13th worst place in the world, and American journalist Flynn (well played by Woody Harrelson) asks what 12 cities are ahead of Sarajevo, and if it's moving up or down.

I had problems with Michael Winterbottom's previous film, JUDE, because it felt like he didn't have a handle on the material. Here, however, though the story sometimes gets confusing, he is perfectly in tune with the story. A heartbreaking film.
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Not Cohesive Enough
chicagopoetry21 July 2011
Welcome to Sarajevo is the result of a good effort but it is just not gripping like similar movies such as The Year of Living Dangerously. First of all, Woody Harreslson has like a bit part. He isn't even part of any of the major plot movements. He actually stands out like a sore thumb as some dumb, drunk, slightly retarded journalist with absolutely no purpose staggering around in a war zone. Second of all, since the majority of the film centers around trying to get children out of Sarajevo, it probably would have been more fitting to call it "Goodbye Sarajevo." I remember watching the events unfold on the news when this crisis was actually happening, and I have to say I got a better understanding of the situation from that than from this film. Granted, this is a beautifully shot film and it's not the worst war movie ever made, but, oh, it could have been so much more if it actually even attempted to shed some light on the horrors of the siege beyond depicting corpses spilling cherry syrup out of their heads in the street. Very little is explained. Like for example, why and how did the "driver" get shot. Or what was up with that scene during which the reporter dude against better advise just follows some stranger who doesn't even speak English into a room only to get mugged as warned. I couldn't really follow it and therefore didn't really enjoy Welcoem to Sarajevo.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
I'm surprised this movie didn't get more recognition
MovieAlien7 February 1999
I rented this film, having mistaken it for another, but I saw it and turned out to be quite satisfied with my foul up. Everyday since 1992 I always heard a brief narrative on the news about the troubles in Bosnia and was never quite clear what was going on until I saw this film. What made it interesting was the focus on the group of reporters, who were much more vivid and sympathetic when they first appeared. Very good performances, the soundtrack was good, but I must warn you about the cover: Marisa Tomei seems like the main star according to the box; she almost has a cameo.

Good movie. I recommend it.
20 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An Olympic city torn by war.
cmyklefty27 February 2002
Welcome to Sarajevo in a true portrait what is happening now in the city.I remember watching the 1984 Winter Olympics on television at home in Philadelphia. The games are for world unity and peaceful competition against other nations. How ironic eight years after the games in Sarajevo, people are fighting and dying over differences. It is a different place in time of Olympics than now. The movie is worth to see. It gives you a chance to understand what happened in 1992 to present.
0 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ambivalent
Alex-3729 November 2001
This is one very strange movie for me. On the one hand, it is undeniably bad. The movie tries to tell two types of stories, first it wants bo be a movie about war journalists, like Olliver Stone's Salvador. Then, it becomes a rescue movie when the main journalist tries to evacuate a nine year old girl from the war zone.

One problem is that these two stories don't hang well together at all. The journalist is totally uncharismatic. Then, there are cameos (don't let the cover fool you) of Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei. Very charming actors, but they don't get enough screen time.

What I think happened is that the director became overraught by the fact that they were _actually_ filming in Sarajevo itself, wanted to put too many things in, and in the end forgot what his job was - namely, to tell a story.

What I would have done, was focus much more on the little girl, her perspective of the war, which is much more interesting than watching some jaded journalists being jaded. Also, in the end, the war in Bosnia was about the people of Bosnia, not some parachuted in gonzos. It is in fact demeaning in itself that the people who suffered the most, are delegated to playing extras in some kind of movie that can't make up it's mind what story it wants to tell. At the same time, after focusing on the girl, I would have focused more on the Woody Harrelson character. He has a lot more going for him than the scrawny, balding lead, who's character, by the way, also isn't developed (why does he have a family back home?;What does his wife think of him flying off to the latest war zone?;Why does she accept that he does this dangerous job and in the process shacks up with Kerry Fox and Emily Lloyd?; Questions, questions...). The movie falls into the trap of, instead of telling a coherent, progressive story, wanting to mention every atrocity visited on the city of Sarajevo.

However, what it has going for it, are those rare moments. At times, the movie is effective in illustrating _how_ those people came to be dead, especially with the middle aged woman who was shot dead during the wedding party/procession. The images of the concentration camps are of course harrowing, and the scenes of the market place that was mortared are gruesome. There is an effective blending of news footage and movie, to the point where at _some_ point (not immediately) you don't know what is real and what is fiction. Ok. However, this does not make for a movie. Movies have to have characters you can root for - they don't _have_ to be Western journalists. I would have rooted for the little girl. Or her mom. Or the translator. You don't have to have American actors for it to play well in America (think of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). What has to be there is a good story, told well. And it unfortunately doesn't have the latter.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
This War, All Wars
j-lacerra17 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie brought home to me the scope of the violent chaos in Bosnia, which I had pretty much ignored as a news story. It did not tell me who the various factions were. I learned little of the causes. But it brought into specific relief the horrors of this war and all those like it. When the movie finally settles down and we are familiar with the characters, then the story becomes personalized in one reporter's quest to save one little girl. And it is here that the movie shines.

Stephen Dillane is good as the British reporter, trying to make a difference, even at the loss of his journalistic distance and impartiality. Woody Harrelson is spot-on as the wild American journalist. And little Emira Nusevic is excellent as the child in question.

Marisa Tomei is very good in the tiny part of a relief worker. It is to her credit that she eschews any semblance of Hollywood glamor and handles his gritty little role perfectly.

Why not 10 stars? Well, the first third of the picture is devoted to establishing the chaos and horrors of war, and in doing so leaves the viewer somewhat asea as to what is going on and who the players are, in terms of their relevance to the ultimate story.

I think it is a 'must see'.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Shy,have given 8.0 to perfect circle and other monster film...this film must be with 7.6
robertofuiano21 December 2008
6.9 votes equal to fragile. And 'now clear that this site has a strong antipathy towards the horror film. If this movie had been in Stephen King would have had more. For me to go to pieces is the comment by Aaron1375. AARON STILL TU, quache distant relative of SHARON? Restless character already seen previously. Why make comparisons between SILENT HILL AND MIRRORS? E '100 times better this movie. Silent hill comes from a video. Do you have anything like the original film plot. There are mediocre film recited by actors who have high ratings as we are beautiful film recited by people less known. This site is so. In this movie there is a coup scene that leaves us with mouth open the others kind of Nicole Kidman. But since this movie and played by Sutherland takes one vote less. that's disgusting. Arise THE VOTE!
1 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Rubbish
filmbuff197031 May 2002
This is just Art house rubbish. I sat watching this trash with my Bosnian Friends they found it as boring as i did. For a more interesting and more true account watch the excellent movie Saviour. This is just a snoozefest with people talking in coffee shops.A cure for insomnia. 1 out of 10
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Cynical reporters in Bosnia experience the war first hand getting (of all things) emotionally involved!
pied27 September 1998
War in Bosnia seem light years away and totally unreal? If so, then this film will bring home to you the suffering, chaos, and personal tragedy of the Bosnian conflict as no other has done. Seen through the eyes of international reporters and rescue workers, Sarajevo is a once cosmopolitan city pillaged and bombed almost beyond recognition.

Pro Bosnian and anti Serb in its outlook, the film is still a must see.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Excellent film! A more global perspective on war.
xavrush892 January 2004
I saw this on a Saturday afternoon, and then left town for the remainder of the weekend, having plenty of time to think about the film on the train ride. This is definitely different from most war movies, but sometimes less is more (Saving Private Ryan springs to mind). This film does what most recent films do not: touch on the ravages of war that only time will heal, even for those not directly involved in fighting it. It does not focus much on combat, but rather the communities at large affected by it. The imagery is not as powerful as in other war movies, yet the message is equally powerful. Stephen Dillane makes an excellently understated leading man (he proved himself wonderfully again in "The Hours"), and as you can see from the rest of the cast list, there are no slouches here. (Tomei is as good here as she would be later in "In the Bedroom". Fox is well used.) Even Woody Harrelson, whose style is normally not my cup of tea (really bothered me on "Cheers" and in his early film roles), he does some of his best and most subtle work here.

This film has a big heart and a bit of an attitude about our perspective on war among other countries (as opposed to our own), and it has a whole lot of heart. This film has stayed with me the past six years, and I have Highly recommended it to many people since.
3 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
This was what I missed!
meliajanssen13 June 2003
I am still wondering why I hadn't heard of this movie before up until this year when I saw it on Dutch TV. For someone who missed a great deal of the war (thanks to the non existent news in Singapore TV and news), this provided a tame glimpse into what really happened. I'm pretty sure it was a whole lot worse but at least I got to see what I had missed. What gave the movie more reality was the news footage of world leaders dismissing the evils that were happening in Sarajevo and you felt like punching them across the face as you saw them speak. Stephen Dillane who plays the kind hearted yet confused journalist looks like he's going to go insane any moment in the movie. It was refreshing to see Marisa Tomei in a 'serious' role (she should stick to roles like that i.e. In The Bedroom) rather than play those awful ditzy characters i.e. The Guru. Woody Harrelson should've had more screen time. I kinda liked his nonchalant persona and how despite his no-care attitude, he does care about what happened as shown in once scene where he apologises to Goran Visjnic's characater about how the US has failed in its role in the war.

This movie is no Full Metal Jacket but it is subtle enough to show what happened in Sarajevo.
0 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A powerful tour through hell on Earth
ToldYaSo3 August 1999
What "Welcome To Sarajevo" did was open my eyes and help me realize how fortunate I am. Sarajevo was a peaceful, metropolitan city not unlike many cities in North America. But it is no longer. It's almost too easy to clear your mind of the strife going on in other parts of the world. Sometimes we feel guilty for being so fortunate. Sometimes we feel horror at the news reports of inhuman atrocities. And most times we shut out the reality of it as it is rarely affecting us in a personal way.

This gripping tale of war-torn Sarajevo is told through the eyes of British reporters. It will probably shock, jar and depress you, but it will most certainly increase your sense of global awareness, and instill a better appreciation of the liberties that most of us have taken for granted. Images from concentration camps hauntingly mimic those from fifty years ago.

This film is based on an amazing true story of one man's personal involvement and promise to rescue one refugee child and the great lengths to which he must go to deliver her from a war zone.

I caught this film in its limited theatrical run following its inclusion in the 1997 Toronto Film Festival. I exited the theater with my wife in a staggering awe-struck state. No one could fully communicate what it would be like to live in a war zone, but this film gives you a potent taste without pulling any punches.

What this means is that most people will likely find it difficult to recommend this film to friends. It's not an uplifting tale, but it is an extremely important one, and I feel privileged and fortunate for having seen it.
33 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
well......
JanetSnakehole31 December 2002
No offence, but Hollywood cannot capture feelings and visions of Balkan tragedy in movies, only directors from Balkan can make masterpieces like Underground, Lepa Sela Lepo Gore etc. and they show reality of the Balkan, some say true, some say not true, but these movies are based on situations that Balkan had and its suffering. Welcome to Sarajevo is not a good movie, its very tragic but soooo much is lacking.
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed