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The War Zone (1999)

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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

Despite the fact that this was shot with J-D-C anamorphic lenses, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. 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.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The R-rated US version has four minutes of footage, mostly involving incestuous acts, removed. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Uncompromising drama that borders on voyeuristic at times
30 January 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

A young family moves from London to a remote country house. The young son suspects that his sister and his father's relationship is more than it should be. As he looks more and more into it he finds a sinister element that his mother does not see.

This was Tim Roth's directorial debut and he certainly wasn't looking for a popcorn hit. The story by Alexander Stuart from his own novel is very slow and deliberate but is ruthlessly effective. At first the whole family seems to have a strange sexual edge to it - the mother breast feeds in full view, the teenage brother and sister lie naked in front of each other etc. It gives things a strange feel but it's quickly forgotten when you get used to it. The guts of the story revolves around the father's sexual abuse of his daughter Jessie, who no longer fights but accepts it as part of her life. Some of the scenes - in particular ‘the scene' - are too hard to watch and the whole thing is very powerful. The film develops slowly and does not allow the father to be a monster-type (the British media have a habit of demonising people rather than taking objective views). Here the film doesn't let him become a caricature even when his crimes come to light.

The cast are roundly brilliant. Winston plays it perfectly all the way and doesn't take the `monster' route. Freddie Cunliffe is excellent as Tom - although all he has to do is mope around the place. Lara Belmont is outstanding - this must have been so difficult to play but she is absolutely excellent throughout. Swinton is good as the mother, but her character is not well used or developed.

Overall it's very hard to watch. Roth's direction is a little too clever but is very good generally. A powerful story very well told - but it may not be to everyone's liking.


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