One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless.
In a world where journalism is under attack, Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) is one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time. Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontlines of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless, while constantly testing the limits between bravery and bravado. After being hit by a grenade in Sri Lanka, she wears a distinctive eye patch and is still as comfortable sipping martinis with London's elite as she is confronting dictators. Colvin sacrifices loving relationships, and over time, her personal life starts to unravel as the trauma she's witnessed takes its toll. Yet, her mission to show the true cost of war leads her -- along with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) -- to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives in the besieged Syrian city of Homs.Written by
In a piece for Harper's Bazaar dated 4 December 2018, war correspondent Janine di Giovanni, who knew Marie Colvin, writes critically of the film: "There were no good guys at the Sunday Times, where Colvin worked, who cared for her well-being. There were instead editors who wanted scoops at the expense of the safety of their reporters. Colvin had many friends in London, but none of them were similar to the Bridget Jones-style girlfriend character (portrayed by Nikki Amuka-Bird) in the film. Her last boyfriend was not a caring and loving Stanley Tucci but rather a man who gave her immense heartache and distress. There were no 'heads on sticks' in Bosnia, as the character meant to be Colvin's first husband, Patrick Bishop, says in one of the opening scenes (heads were on sticks in Chechnya). Colvin's second husband, Juan Carlos Gumucio, is erased from the script altogether, though he played an important role in her life." Although positive about Rosamund Pike's performance, she recommends that her readers watch the documentary Bearing Witness (2005) instead. See more »
Colvin's smoking sometimes does not sync - holding, inhales, exhales. See more »
Last question. Fifty years from now, some youngster's gonna pull this disc out of a box and maybe make a judgment about becoming a journalist. What would you want that youngster to know about Marie Colvin and about being a war correspondent?
Very difficult question. It's like writing, uh, your own obituary. I suppose to look back at it and say, you know, I cared enough to go to these places and write, in some way, something that would make, uh, someone else care as much about it as ...
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Marie Colvin was a truly courageous and inspirational person, one of the most courageous and inspirational people of her time perhaps, with a story that should be known and told more. It's one that resonated with me reading of it and despite not going through anywhere near as much as Colvin did (despite having a lifelong rough time myself) it was very easy to relate to her and root for her cause all the way. The trailer also looked great and Rosamund Pike has impressed me a number of times previous.
Despite 'A Private War' being critically well received and Pike's performance being pretty much universally acclaimed, when finally released in my country it was criminally and shamefully underseen with hardly any advertising and a limited cinema release (the few cinemas that did show it had screenings at inaccessible times). Much more than this incredible woman and her story deserved and for the film to get this treatment is an injustice. Finally seeing it a few days ago, it was well worth the wait because while not perfect 'A Private War' was a powerful experience. Actually felt it treated Colvin and her story with respect and subjectively feel that some of the criticisms it's garnered here are unfair and over-the-top to the point of disrespect.
'A Private War' is not perfect. There are time jumps back and forth that can feel rather jumpy and rushed, so it's a little disjointed at times.
Stanley Tucci is far too underused in a very underwritten part, Tucci plays it well and gives it a good bash but it is hard to do more with limited screen time, a sketchily developed character and some of the film's more clunky dialogue.
However, 'A Private War' has a lot working in its favour. The production values are both beautiful and grittily unforgiving, with editing that really adds to the increasingly hard-hitting authenticity and a striking wide variety of camera shots that don't give the impression of being too clever or showing off, instead doing what the editing excels in. Matthew Heinemann directs with enough momentum and breathing space with no visual self-indulgence at the same time, especially good in the latter stages. The music is used in the appropriate places, recorded without being too loud and has the right amount of unsettlement. Am surprised that hardly anybody has mentioned Annie Lennox's Golden Globe-nominated original song "Requiem for a Private War", truly haunting stuff.
Other than some melodramatic moments, the script is thought-probing and poignant and one feels constant admiration for Colvin. While the back and forth structure was flawed, the story still continued to grip and the film does deserve credit for not trivialising the subject. It actually pulls no punches and is not an easy watch (both her bleak personal life and the job), doing so in a harrowing way and it had me emotionally drained by the end, more so than most films seen recently. Did not feel 'A Private War' glorified Colvin or villified anybody else, and thought a difficult story was treated with respect.
Have a lot of praise for the cast too. Jamie Dornan shows that in the right role with good writing he can be good, a very deeply felt performance, while Tom Hollander is also very good. 'A Private War' though belongs to Pike, who is absolutely exceptional as Colvin, one of the best of the year in my view, and it is a mystery that she didn't get more awards attention. Giving a lead performance as fearless and intensely committed as Colvin herself, doing it while disappearing into the role and becoming her and not being an impersonation, have always liked her a lot but her performance is is on the same level as her unforgettable turn in 'Gone Girl' in its own way.
In conclusion, very well done film though a hard watch. To be seen mainly for Pike. 8/10
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