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.
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