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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alexander Stuart: "Once my son was diagnosed with cancer, I had this huge amount of pain and anger about how this could happen to the child I loved so much. And I definitely directed that into The War Zone. I wrote it differently than anything I've written. I would rush back to the house while he was in chemotherapy and just write for two hours. I almost felt as if I were channeling it." 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

 
Beautiful, troubling, superbly acted
4 December 2005 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

Probably the worst thing about Tim Roth's audacious directorial debut is its title: 'The War Zone' conjures images of something rather noisier, and less subtle, than this film about aberrant sexuality within a family unit. Roth is brave enough to show love among the hate, and to assign a limited degree of complicit guilt to the apparent victim: the film gains greatly from both of these decisions. He also has interesting visual ideas: the film is full of lonely, widescreen images in which the central subjects appear almost lost; and homely Devon has never looked wilder and less civilised than it does here, depicted in winter and at night. Roth also gets great performances from all his cast: in what is essentially a four-hander, Tilda Swinton is good in a limited part, Ray Winstone shows (not for the first time) that he has talents beyond those required for his customary hard-man roles, but it's the young actors who are most outstanding: Freddie Cunliffe as the troubled boy who discovers dark secrets, and especially the beautiful, opaque Laura Belmont who is simply tremendous as his sexually aware, not-as-cool-as-she-seems sister. At time the soundtrack seems a bit generic, and I'm not entirely convinced by the open ending, but this is still a better film than many directors make in their careers. On the strength of this movie, Roth should enjoy a long career behind the camera.


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