7.4/10
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127 user 91 critic

The War Zone (1999)

R | | Drama | 11 June 1999 (Italy)
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An alienated teenager, saddened that he has moved away from London, must find a way to deal with a dark family secret.

Director:

Tim Roth

Writers:

Alexander Stuart (novel), Alexander Stuart (screenplay)
9 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kate Ashfield ... Lucy
Annabelle Apsion ... Nurse
Lara Belmont ... Jessie
Freddie Cunliffe Freddie Cunliffe ... Tom
Colin Farrell ... Nick (as Colin J Farrell)
Aisling O'Sullivan Aisling O'Sullivan ... Carol
Tilda Swinton ... Mum
Megan Thorp Megan Thorp ... Baby Alice
Kim Wall ... Barman
Ray Winstone ... Dad
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Storyline

Suddenly, the moody 15-year-old, Tom, and his 18-year-old sister, Jessie, find themselves relocated from the hustle and bustle of urban London to the sullen silence of wind-swept rural Devon, at a little but neat cottage in the middle of nowhere. Dad is caring and kind, and very much in love with mum who has just given birth; however, an accidental glimpse of a disturbing and well-hidden secret in the family will bring Tom face-to-face with shock, denial, and ultimately, rage. What mystery could be so appalling that threatens to bring everyone in the family to their knees? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When the worst of men hides in a family with no history.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, some involving molestation, and for nudity, language and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Atlanta Films | Official site

Country:

Italy | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1999 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Tim Roth's The War Zone See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,335, 12 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$254,441, 6 June 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A newly updated and fully revised 20th Anniversary Edition of The War Zone (novel) was published in 2009, including both the original British and American opening chapters, an afterword by Tim Roth and a Diary of the Making of the Film by Alexander Stuart. See more »

Quotes

Tom: I saw you.
Jessie: Saw me what?
Tom: In the bath...
Jessie: Yeah?
Tom: What were you doing?
Jessie: What do you think? I got in and he got out.
Tom: That's not what I saw.
Jessie: Well, that's all it was.
Tom: Where were you?
Jessie: It's a pretty weird thing you're suggesting if you're saying what I think you're saying. I haven't told you to f@ck off or anything, which I probably should've. Nothing happened, OK? I'd tell you.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Father Knows Best
17 January 2000 | by lou-50See all my reviews

A melancholic boy faces the prospects of adapting to life in a craggy, rugged English countryside separated from the London he knows. We soon discover things are going to go from bad to worse. "The War Zone" is a special film about incest taken entirely from the perspective of the teenage son, Tom, and his sister, Jessie, giving it a quality of children versus their parents. Incest has been broached before in other films like "Celebration" and "The Sweet Hereafter" but never with such all encompassing realism as "The War Zone". You feel like a voyeur prying in other people's business. Director Tim Roth presents scene after scene of stark, uninviting, seashore landscapes as well as a mesmerizing movie score that vacillates between rushed crescendos and unnerving calm to give "The War Zone" a cold, somber tenseness. The acting is outstanding but Freddie Cunliffe as Tom and Lara Belmont as Jessie carry the film with their brave, demanding portrayals. Tom must weigh the secret he knows with preserving the stability of the home. He is so perplexed about normal love and the mere act of lust that when he comes upon attractive neighbor, Lucy and the set-up vixen, Carol, he becomes stupefied rather than attracted to them. Jessie must walk a fine line between the sex act she craves and her sense of right and wrong. Indeed, at one point, we sympathize with her less because she doesn't seem to mind her predicament. "The War Zone" ends in a way some will find unsatisfying but it is very consistent with the film's theme - lost children who will never find their way back.


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