5 Days of War (2011)
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The fighting in Gori depicted in graphic detail at the end of the film never took place, Gori was taken by Russian forces without any fighting. Also movement of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and ground troops occurred after the war started, not prior. However, perhaps the greatest lie of the film, is ignoring the initial outbreak of hostilities, which culminated in a Georgian assault on Tshinvali which left close to 2000 Ossetian civilians dead. Total Georgian civilian war dead numbered around 150. This films attempt to portray the suffering of Georgian civilians in graphic detail, while ignoring similar acts perpetrated by the Georgian military completely destroys any value this film has in terms of portraying real historical events. The result is a portrayal of a war that has unclear beginnings, followed by an excessively violent Russian advance, rather different from the historical actual events that unfolded. Particularly noteworthy is the intentional misrepresentation and de-humanization of Russian military personnel, and the the South Ossetian forces that participated in the conflict.
The movie has got no relation to the actual events of 08.08.08 and as such must be classed as a propaganda.
But cold war was over 20 years ago and the skills required to make a raunchy propaganda blockbuster sadly have gone away. While watching it I kept on a lookout for Rambo to jump out and start downing Ruski's choppers. And this is my main problem with movie; there was no Rambo! Every propaganda movie should have a Rambo! There was everything but Rambo, e.g. evil Russians killing indiscriminately, angelic good guys, no attempt to give human-like features to the enemy, lame storyline and cheesy acting. There was also no main evil Russian guy with cool one-liners and a strong accent...
The movie begins with a scene in Iraq which introduces us to the main character. We see Heather Graham, but unfortunately her appearance is surprisingly short (it's actually the thing with this movie, all good actors get very little screen time.) That scene is perhaps the only thing that impressed me in the whole movie, and perhaps the only part I will remember for a long time. Great effects, and cinematography. Unfortunately it goes downhill from that in a blink.
After that brief introduction to the main character we see him going to Georgia (because Val Kilmer in a bathtub told him, duh.) The dialogs are absolutely awful, especially the scene in a pub where the journalists assemble and discuss how to wipe your ass in Tajikistan (or some such), that dialog has contributed nothing to the movie and only made me dislike the characters. Then we see our journalists visiting a wedding, which naturally gets bombed. That episode, no doubt, was inspired by the Afghan wedding that was mistakenly bombed by US number of years back, it made me wonder why the writers decided to use events from Afghanistan in this movie... but much later, my first surprise was that the episode showed four planes firing a rocket on a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. That made no sense whatsoever, completely destroying suspension of disbelief. The movie goes on like this for quite some time with number of events and characters' actions that make little sense, but then the really bizarre episodes begin.
A very interesting moment in the movie is when the Russians are shown for the first time marching forward. Russians are basically portrayed as Orcs, raping and pillaging like there's no tomorrow. While I'm sure there were atrocities committed by both sides (as in any war) such portrayal of one side as plain evil made me wonder whether the movie is just another part of the informational war that has been going on ever since the actual war ended.
I have to say that I barely made it till the end, the movie had plenty of absurd moments past "the Orcs invasion." There's plenty of action, and visual effects, but with ridiculous story to glue them it's not a pleasant thing to watch.
Overall I found this movie disappointing, insulting to my intelligence, and badly written. I would recommend this movie only if you actually like one of the actors, otherwise don't waste you time.
As I'm nor Russian or Georgian(nor one of their allies), and I live quite far for all this mess,I consider my self quite neutral in this issue.
Sadly,this movie is far from facts,and it's so full of propaganda movie that I couldn't even enjoy it's entertainment value.
'5 Days of August' is suppose to tell us a story about the Russian-Georgian war in 2008,from TV-crews eyes. The conflict it's self isn't that sudden,because the area had a long history full of madness,politics and fighting. Which this movie did try to explorer,but quite poorly. Mainly because it only tell the story on the side of Georgians(view of the war from Georgians side). Russians was made to be the main and the only bad guys(which in some context,they of course were at fault,as they act just like US in Irak. Anyway the main problem been Georgians was not as pure and guiltless as it showed). As story came down to a purelly propaganda movie(Georgian been the true Freedom fighters,and not mass murders of their own peoples or South Ossetians. Which depend on your view on South Ossetians independents)that would have made Goebbels proud of this one. As a history and Document fan,I find this movie as bad as it can be. American's propaganda aren't usually this direct, only the Nazi and communist did this type over the top propaganda junks.
As a simple movie, this one has nothing special. Special effect are poor. Garcia and Kilmer made me want to cry! This two's acting is not at the same level as they should be. As b-level Director goes, Renny Harlin did an OK job. He been a Finn must had something to do with why he was in this movie,because even he is overqualified for this movie. Anyhow Winter war and this one aren't the same. Finland wan't the one starting the war,nor did they bomb their own people as part of their plan to "free" them.
Worst thing about this movie,is that some lazy people might actually believe this movie is about facts.
People with open mind and have the mind to study up on the issue of South Ossetia war/history should see this movie(as a joke about Hollywood style of facts), or Movie students. This is 2011 propaganda movie, that use the same style as Nazi's and communist did.
But with that aside, can it be considered a good movie regardless of it's fictional re-writing of history? Sadly this is also no, it has direct to DVD written all over it, If it hadn't been filmed in Georgia, using Georgian soldiers giving it a authentic look it would have nothing standing this movie up.
I'll end this on a quote from Anna Neistat who works for "amnesty international" "This film portrays Russians and Ossetians as barbaric beasts and Georgians as peace angels." I couldn't sum it up any better Anna.
The romance between Anders and Tatia doesn't make sense: why should the two fall in love simply because chance threw them together and put them in danger together and individually? Any "chemistry" that might exist isn't present and the pair's kiss looks like an after-thought. More believable is Anders's loyalty to Ganz when Ganz is injured in a bomb attack and apparently dying: the two have been in many intense life-and-death situations which few other people can understand and sympathise with. Both men are devoted to seeking the truth behind layers of propagandistic fog though paradoxically this search can make them vulnerable to manipulation by politicians and the military. The plot's emphasis on safeguarding the memory stick that holds Ganz's images and the Russians' attempt to destroy it leaves no room for character development with the result that Anders, Ganz and their fellow journalists end up perpetuating old World War Two stereotypes about Russian soldiers torturing and killing people, raping women and torching farms and properties with flamethrowers. (Such stereotypes admittedly are based on fact: Soviet soldiers did act barbarically towards German civilians in the 1940s, partly as a result of the debased culture in the Soviet armed forces that arose after the purges of high-ranking military officers in the 1930s as ordered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, a Georgian native - what irony.) As the movie carries on, hackneyed plot twists appear: Tatia's family is riven apart by internal betrayal, Ganz is threatened with torture by the Russian general's sadistic enforcer (Nikko Mousiainen), an attempt to broadcast Ganz's images fails when the reporters are targeted by a Russian helicopter, and Ganz is hurt in the helicopter attack. The enforcer kidnaps Tatia and forces Anders to choose between saving her life and keeping Ganz's film.
The film could have focused more closely on the dilemmas that journalists in war zones face: for one thing, whether the search for truth justifies putting their own lives and the lives of innocents in danger. There are various political and ethical decisions they have to make: how closely should they work with the government or the military? how would such work interfere with their journalist code of ethics? There is a female journalist featured who is embedded with a Georgian army unit and viewers may well wonder what compromises she made to get the story and pictures she wants for her employer. Will the opinions she expresses and the images she shows reflect a definite political agenda? The actors do what they can with the story and give at least a three-dimensional look to their characters. Andy Garcia as Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili gives the best performance, endowing his character with a dignity the real person probably doesn't deserve: before the 2008 war, Saakashvili had been criticised for the use of brutal police force against protesters in an anti-government demonstration, and for declaring a state of emergency and suppressing press freedoms as a result of the protests, in November 2007. Well-known US actors Val Kilmer and Dean Cain do little other than parrot their lines and strut about as reporter and diplomat respectively and fellow US actor Jonathan Schaek as Georgian military officer Captain Avaliani spends his screen time saving Anders and Ganz's hides.
Any saving graces are in the Georgian settings: the cinematography features some lovely shots of a town perched on cliffs overlooking a winding river and of the countryside with its mountains and deep gorges. A church used as a refuge gives the film crew opportunities to photograph pictures of religious icons and the wedding scene featured early in the movie gives a little insight into Georgian customs, traditional dress styles and folk dances. Curiously there are no native Georgian actors in the film's major and minor acting roles; Georgians are present only as extras.
By lapsing into an action-movie rut the film fails to give a near-accurate portrayal of the work news journalists do and the problems they face in unusual and intense situations where disinformation, propaganda and fear replace speech and press freedoms. The film does not do what it claims to do: the source of the film's financing alone puts paid to any pretence of impartiality and regard for truth. The Georgian armed forces are portrayed as decent and heroic, the Russians as cruel, barbaric and even criminal: in truth, both sides were guilty of over-reaction to provocation with Georgia attacking South Ossetia first with heavy firepower and both Georgians and Russians alike committing grave war crimes. The US role in supplying arms and military training to Georgia since the Rose Revolution in 2003 and encouraging a belligerent attitude towards Russia should not go uncondemned either.
For a film that purports to be a vision of real life events the director could not have got it more wrong. We are left with ridiculous battle scenes that are in fact an insult to the real horror of war on civilians. Hind gun ships firing bending missiles, the director loves this and we see these Hinds firing their bendy missiles all through out the film. Andy Garcia does his best Borat impression while the most shocking element of all is how much Val Kilmer has let himself go.
If you want to watch a brutal, raw and realistic film on the horrors of war, watch the first scene and then turn your TV off. If you want to watch some comic book propaganda film then keep on watching. A bad film that at the start hinted on how good it could have been!!
For starters, the opening sequence is awesome. One thing this movie really had was best camera crew ever. Everything feels very intense all the times, very close to the real war footage. Also, all the props, vehicles, uniforms, even explosions look very real. This is the good part.
The mediocre part is main story. It's a mix of Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun, but feels like a bootleg version, a cheap knockoff of those.
And then there's the bad part. Just after awesome intro, you get "treated" with shots of Tbilisi, with landmarks, people smiling, and god forbid, trancey music in the background. It looked like a commercial for some travel agency, with only "Visit Georgia" message missing from the scene and was most tasteless thing I've ever seen in a film. I live in similar post-soviet country and I do understand the mentality in desperate desire to explain your culture to the world to get less looked as some remote hellhole, but this is outright tasteless and maybe Georgia hasn't come to this yet.
The script had generally no direction. Awesome war scene here, some corpses there, cameramen and photography director knew what to do... But director didn't. First, that simple shot with church and bloody river from 'Tears of the Sun' gives 10 times stronger emotion than whole pile of bodies shown in '5 days of August'. Even though latter tries sooo hard to portray Russians as savages.
Second, despite awesome camera and props, fighting had no point in this movie. You see soldiers shooting stuff and each other, but it's unclear why or what's their plan. I don't think any people who had any idea about how soldiers and military works were on the set. Mi-24 choppers shooting random buildings with rockets? And here I thought that every pilot is given orders and targets to waste expensive munitions on... Also, MI-24 sports a deadly cannon, but it's used only once, missing everything, and soldiers act as chopper had blind men for pilot and gunner, not taking cover. Tanks constantly missing targets and not using machine guns? Taking down a chopper with a single LAW rocket? SU-bombers taking down a restaurant residing in basically nowhere? This all felt very bizarre and pointless.
I could go on, but there's no need. Let's just say that this movie is very average, has some good moments, lots of unmemorable moments, and some outright stupid ones. So pick it up from bargain bin, but don't expect too much.
6 stars I give are for 2 reasons: Awesome camera work (it felt like live action at places) and the fact that despite being incredibly dumb, this movie IS entertaining... and that's good, even if it's for all wrong reasons.
...as for amount of propaganda, this movie is 100% okay, considering what comes from Moscow. Sure it's all bloated and overrated but this is how we rock in those former USSR satellite countries. Even 50 of such movies can't counter a single evening news show from random Russian TV-channel. For westerners, you just have to accept that rules are different, but watching all those Normandy landings in every Hollywood movie and video game, maybe not as much as you might think.
Now as for the film's handling of its source material (the 2008 Georgia- Russia war over South Ossetia and Abkhazia), make no mistake about it, this is a textbook example of propaganda film. The Russian and South Ossetian militia are portrayed as savage and merciless killers executing and gunning down everyone in sight, while the brave Georgian soldiers are Hollywood Navy SEALS incarnate. Some of the more obvious propaganda shots do tend to take away from the film a bit (people getting gunned down in classic slow motion), but all in all, if you realize what you are watching....
So, take it for what it is, a very loose patriotic Georgian "interpretation" of the 2008 war. If you are decidedly pro-Russian, the film will likely make you fume. If you are decidedly pro-Georgian, it will likely elicit a few cheers. If like me you are simply aware of the historical facts of the conflict but have no dog in the fight, you can just sit back and enjoy a fairly good film covering subject matter mainstream Hollywood would never bother with. Just do yourself a favor, read up on the conflict before or after viewing so you at least have a balanced view....
Cinematography is frankly very bad. It's on par with home movies. There is little feel to the pictures you see and they do not deliver the feelings that are behind the script. Unless you lived though that particular horror, this movie will not spark any passionate feelings. It's literally like watching a documentary of wildlife. In short, the picture lacks any feel to it.
Direction was ordinary at best. A few emotion filled moments were apparent, yet the cinematography failures just wiped it off the face of the picture.
Quite a lot of CG, yet it's not an action movie. It just kills any underlying messages. Though the CG was very good by itself.
The story is over-politicized. Though I don't think that there is anything wrong to portray a single side of a conflict, I do have a lot of issues when that side is very political. It has very clear tendencies, that result in some strange plot "twists". Some make sense, some don't. Like in all stories the politics just covers up the human side. It's no wonder that the story has tendencies, since quite a lot of Georgians worked on the movie. Sometimes such composition of crew results in a highly emotional and expressive movie. Yet this time those personal connections are lost along the way, giving way to the political aspect of the story.
The Georgians that were close to the conflict will feel emotional towards the movie and will relate in some way. People that were far away will not see through the political veil and fail to relate to hardships and suffering of ordinary people.
Good Georgians, bad Russians and nothing in the middle.
Well, AFAIK Georgian government sponsored production so it wasn't for free.
Don't try to learn the history of the conflict after that.
Cold War is back. Seems like Rembo from the 80s but lacks Silvester to save the day.
On the other hand it doesn't look like a typical B-movie it could be considering it's screenplay.
Director's work is good, acting is not too bad. Special effects is nice too excluding cheap gasoline explosions.
Worth watching anyway.
However, the whole idea of the movie is too plain "Georgians are good, and Russians are bad"... Smells like cheaply paid propaganda movie. Nowdays only mind limited folks can think that Russia started the war. Whatever they say... Georgian president gave the order to slaughter "his own people" on the night before Olympic games started:
Watch the classics "Saving Private Ryan", "Tears of the sun", "We were soldiers"...
P.S.: the scene with wedding is well described here http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jul/02/afghanistan.lukeharding
While in the beginning of the movie the viewer was given the impression that this was an attempt to show the Georgian side of the story, at it's end I had to wonder if they were actually making fun of everyone in it. Andy Garcia's part is so badly written.
The individual acting isn't all that bad, but even the mandatory love story fails totally because there is no connection between the actors whatsoever. This disconnect also has a fatal effect on photography, which in itself is decent but very bland together with the soulless acting.
Other than that the movie features a lot of explosions, a Rambo-like figure and piles of bodies. And is surprisingly, if you strip it from the wrongful historical connection and omit Andy Garcia's parts, quite entertaining.
Unfortunately, all I got were some unintentional guffaws and groans.
The moment the characters start speaking the film loses its credibility and it goes south from there.
The acting is bad. Rupert Friend may have given good performances in his past films such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Young Victoria" but here he looked lost. Emmanuelle Chriqui is horrible. She can act in romantic comedies, but is totally miscast in her role here. She wasn't even trying in the dramatic scenes. Val Kilmer, Heather Graham, Dean Cain and Andy Garcia pop up to scavenge what's left of their careers. Rade Serbedzija looks mean again. The only performances which are good are from Richard Coyle and Jonathan Schaech.
Did I mention the screenplay was absolutely atrocious? There were cheesy lines and moments from left to right. Not one scene felt genuinely gripping, and many scenes felt like they were tacked on. Now I'm not one to say anything about politics but from what I've heard this film is propaganda. Given the poor quality of the acting and writing I'd doubt anyone on both sides of the war will appreciate this movie - it may even be very offensive to some on both the Russian and Georgian sides.
There's even cheesier music to go along with everything. Trevor Rabin may be good for action movies but is totally out of his league here. His music timing is out and his score becomes aggressively annoying. The editing is too rushed at times, making some scenes feel very forced.
There are good things, though. The cinematography is good, and since the DP was a real-life war cameraman, it shows in the movie with its wide sweeping shots of the enemy tanks and the shaky-cam fury of the battles. The sound effects, especially the explosions and the shooting sequences, are startlingly realistic.
The ugliest aspect of the film? How director Renny Harlin shaped this film to be. Normally I admire Harlin's films, but that was pure action films like "Cliffhanger" and "The Long Kiss Goodnight". Harlin fumbled with this movie. He chooses not to focus on the (already inept) drama and instead turn his attention to the action/war sequences. This is where it gets ugly. Harlin shoots the violence as if he's right at home at Hollywood, with its large fiery explosions and spinning cars and exploding blood squibs all over the place (nice job of doing this without CGI for many scenes though, Renny). Harlin is great at action sequences and big action films. And it is indeed a big movie - for a US$20 million film there were many military vehicles such as tanks and helicopters used for filming alongside the explosions. But it is strictly out of place in a war movie, and Harlin makes it feel more like a video game. Think Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor" and John Woo's "Windtalkers". Now another action film director has made a bad war movie. This should never happen again, and I now fear for Rob Cohen's Korean War "epic" due next year.
The fact that this was "inspired by a true story" and even had the gall to insert interview clips of the survivors of the war at the end makes it all the more insulting and appalling. However in a cruel and dark sense some may find this an unintentional comedy. Given the cheesy script and acting I can't blame them. I'm sorry Renny, I'm sure you had the right intentions, but better luck next time. This is one of the year's worst films.
"5 Days of August" - renamed "5 Days of War" in the United States - was released here in Malaysia under the title "City on Fire". Why the Malaysian film board chose the same title as the superior Chow Yun- Fat/Ringo Lam Hong Kong Action classic is beyond me. It's worse than when they found the word "Hellboy" to be offensive and renamed it "Super Sapiens". Yeesh.
Overall rating: 24/100
It's so rare to see a war film robbed of all character development, emotional elements, plot, coherency, and facts. Yet, 5 Days of War shows us that it is possible and that when done in such poor quality it can further cement an event into a sea of puzzlement. The United States of America wasn't up to date come time of the Russo-Georgia War in August of 2008, and Bush had decided to leave the country out of it. A smart move if you ask me. The US was already starting to get hit with one of the most deadly recessions of all time and, already fighting two wars, it was a good plan to let two other countries just settle out the differences by themselves. So, to release a film in America about the war was actually not a bad idea. The problem? Because our knowledge on it is so limited we could easily be persuaded the wrong way. And that is what 5 Days of War appears to be doing. Persuading people the wrong way.
Georgia and Russia both committed several atrocities in the time of the war. The film makes it look like Georgia was minding its own business and the big, bad Russians just decided to blow the hell out of everything Georgian. Georgia actually helped to trigger the Russians into fighting back in the war. That part is almost wholly absent.
The film revolves around Thomas Anders (Friend), a reporter who was rescued upon visiting Iraq with colleagues after being gunned down in their car. A year later, he gets word that conflict is brewing in Georgia, so heads out to cover the story. Anders meets a young Georgia woman named Tatia (Chriqui) and another reporter named Sebastian (Coyle) where they must learn to survive during the war.
It seems 5 Days of War is less concerned with actuality and being an informative piece of work, and instead tries to be a gritty action film. Going into this expecting a nice, expansive retelling of events leading up to the war, I was presented with typical war schlock with loud, unnecessary gunfire and over-exaggerated acting all around. This is also one of the first war films I've ever seen that was void of all things emotional. It was moot in the field of playing with your tear-ducts, mainly because you don't know the characters well enough to form any sort of opinion about them. There is a scene where one of the main characters is shot off of the back of a moving truck. Her friends and companions are clearly shocked and sobbing uncontrollably. We as audience members are staring blankly wishing a tear or two would form. Alas, nothing but utter silence followed by increasing restlessness and dreariness.
At the very end, the film goes sentimental and right before the end credits we see many people who've lost relatives in the five day war between the feuding countries holding pictures of their loved ones and honoring them respectably. Even in this field emotion doesn't ring, but we do feel sort of uneasy. Think about it; you watch an empty, mundane war film that is absent of emotional elements only to be tested for tears one more time before the credits role showing people who have lost their loved ones in the same event. The whole act sounds contrived and almost unforgivable.
Starring: Andy García, Val Kilmer, Richard Coyle, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rupert Friend, Johnathon Schaech, Dean Cain, Rade erbedija, Antje Traue, and Heather Graham. Directed by: Renny Harlin.
Now, the story, plot, acting, writing, historical accuracy,.....all crap. it was horribly inaccurate and biased toward the Georgians, who actually started the war. it was basically a big fat Georgian propaganda film. both sides committed atrocities in this horrible 5 day war. it wasn't good guy vs bad guy, it was bad guy vs bad guy. If the writers and Director had done any research, they'd know all of this.
next, the story, plot, and writing. the story is just badly planned out, and doesn't really show any background,....mainly due to the fact that this is a huge propaganda Georgia film. The plot was plain and predictable. So, that really made me not enjoy this film. The writing was pretty p_i_s_s_ poor. No background story, the lines were stiff and just not emotional at all.
acting was bad, but not horrendous. I have seen much much worse.
all in all, this movie could have been one amazing work of art and story telling, but they got too focused on the money, which they obviously failed miserably at: $12,000,000 budget, only got $60,000 in the box office. So yeah, overall just a good one time watch when you are ridiculously bored out of your mind
As a piece of film making it is faultless, however, and deserves a much higher average score. If you like films such as The Bang Bang Club and The Hunting Party then this should be right up your street. The plot and characters are good, well acted and directed, with plenty of action. If I have a gripe it's down to the lack of subtitles when people are speaking Russian or Georgian - why do film makers do this? If the characters have something to say and it's important to the story, then tell us what they're saying!
So it's a good film and if it's in any way true then a lot of powerful people ought to be ashamed. At the very least it's a film that makes you want to find out more about the atrocities happening in the world today.
I ve also noticed many complaints, that the movie is biased towards one side of the war conflict. One have to understand the complexity of the problem and all events that happened before the conflict and the policy, which is set by Russia nowadays.. (am Master student of International Relations/Diplomacy). What happened there, is just a direct response to it. And there are many states which face the same issues today: Trying to break away from Russian influence, however still being on the watch of the policy makers in Moscow. (Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia..etc. )
The film lost 2 stars due to exaggerated heroism and the director's need to describe the Russian soldiers as criminals. Which was not true, as the most of the crimes were committed by (paid) unlawful combatants (paid private armies and soldiers coming from different parts of Kaukaz) Overally good camera, well captured unspoiled scenery of Georgia's nature and countryside, well fitted reall and fictional facts in one overall story.
I read the reviews of some guys here that are negative ones without any explanation. Telling that this is propaganda and stuff like that is a lie. Thats whats happened, the People in crowed are REAL people in the film that survived the war, The WEDDING SEEN was based on True Story and reporters dies in this war.
Andy Garcia was Awesome in his role. He just Looked like Michael Saakachvili. Russian occupied 20% of Georgia and this territories are under Russian control this days. Peace keepers with tanks and M16 ?
This movie just shows the true to the world what happened 3 years ago. I am from Israel and have no interest to protect Georgians or Russians but this war Russian is Occupant and thats what NATO sad either. No propaganda i didn't see in this movie other then Based on true story.
Great Actors, Awesome Action and emotional movie. Recommend to watch it.