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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:
Annabelle Apsion ... Nurse
Kate Ashfield ... Lucy
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
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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

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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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

 
This is hard medicine -- definitely NFE (not for everyone)
2 January 2000 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

The 1998 Danish Dogma film "The Celebration" (Festen) is another hard medicine movie, intense drama about family strives and incest. The Danish film shows the intensity through dialogs and character reactions. Tim Roth's film cuts to the chase and shows the vivid horror of the actual act. Tim does not skirt around the subject. He takes the subject right on and tackles it directly and really shakes up the viewers. It's raw emotions -- nothing sentimental. The actors are in their natural appearances with not much make-up: Tilda Swinton you see her with the pregnant creased skin-folds of a tummy inelegance; the two teenagers (Lara Belmont as Jessie, Freddie Cunliffe as Tom) in their casual demeanor/slouching poses; Ray Winstone as the seemingly unsuspicious father who looks like any man of the house, full of himself and chatting incessantly (in a way, an indication of certain insecurity and self-doubt?).

We don't get to see the predator's face much. Director Tim Roth wants the focus on the heinous act vs. personal faces, which could be anybody who has had such traumatic experience at home. Home is where the trust and warmth of a family together should be. Through Tim's delivery, we see the coldness and frustration the two teenagers face, esp. Tom the son, who discovered the wrongful act accidentally and felt confused and unable to talk to anyone about it -- his sister, the victim, just as confused and unable to talk about it. The different levels of fear that each member of the family has… A poignant film, with explicit scenes sensitively choreographed, demands viewers attention to the tough subject at hand. We can't turn away -- the inevitable merciless truth presented in our face on the screen. It's a bold attempt. This film calls for attention to the subject of incest and its traumatic consequences beyond imagination. Roth succeeded.


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