7.4/10
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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

According to director Tim Roth, the bunker scene was so difficult to film that the sound man almost ruined a take by crying into his microphone. Ray Winstone also found acting the scene upsetting and nearly left the production because of 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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
An Excellent Find
11 November 2005 | by MichaelMargetisSee all my reviews

I have seen many powerful films in my life, but few compare to the off-beat, unsettling and totally uncompromising 'War Zone', actor turned director Tim Roth's first film. Many people despised it for being so raunchy, straight-forward and too realistic, while others praised it for that very same reason. 'The War Zone' is a very hard-to-watch film because it portrays incest -- such a terrible and disgusting event going on in some families today. I was repulsed by the film's haunting and brooding score, but I have to say I was amazed also. 'The War Zone' is a brilliant film and an incredible first effort from Tim Roth.

'The War Zone' follows an isolated British family living in the lush green hills somewhere in England. The family consists of a dad (Ray Winstone - Sexy Beast), a mum (Tilda Swinton - The Deep End), a baby (Megan Thorp), a in-her-late-teens daughter (Lara Belmont) and a in-his-younger-teens son (Freddie Cunliffe) who's perspective the film is shot from. Everything seems to be going so excellent for this new family with the new baby and all, until one day the son sees something he's not supposed to -- the dad molesting the daughter. This tears this seemingly happy family apart and it comes to a huge, yucky boil at the end of the feature.

'The War Zone' moves a little slow towards the beginning but in a way that it is it's only flaw. Tim Roth does a semi-amateurish but mostly consistent job directing while Alexander Stuart provides an incredible screenplay that should have picked up an Oscar nomination. The cast is astounding with a powerhouse lead performance from Ray Winstone that proves him to be perhaps one of the finest British actors working in film today. Tilda Swinton is excellent for the limited screen time her character as 'mum' has, while the movie in a way belongs to the kids. Freddie Cunliffe is extraordinary in his role, while newcomer Lara Belmont is spellbinding in every scene and never ceases to bring emotion out of the viewer. Supposedly she was working at 'Burger King' before she did the film. I think it's safe to say she won't be working there anymore. The camera-work is really low-budget and the DVD frustrated me because it had no subtitles.

All in all, Tim Roth's 'The War Zone' is an amazing motion picture but a crappy DVD. The poorly-formatted DVD is worth buying just because of the awesome quality of the movie itself. If you love and appreciate film and think you have a strong enough stomach for this one, be sure to do a 100-meter dash to the videostore and snag a copy of 'The War Zone'. Grade: A-


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