During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous family get involved in a war to control the business that ends up destroying their lives and their culture.
Three actresses at different stages of their career. One from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, one popular star of today known throughout the country and a young girl longing to attend a drama conservatory.
Set in seemingly contemporary times, a man who belongs to a persecuted minority attempts to escape from fascist-run France to America but falls in love with the wife of a dead author whose identity he has assumed.
Halla, a woman in her forties, declares war on the local aluminum industry to prevent it from disfiguring her country. She risks all she has to protect the highlands of Iceland-but the situation could change with the unexpected arrival of a small orphan in her life.Written by
Hugo Van Herpe
A total pleasure to watch: engaging, serious, eccentric, and fun.
Halla (played by Halldora Geirhardsdottir), a middle-aged Icelandic woman leading a seemingly ordinary life, is secretly a fierce eco-warrior. Staying completely off the radar, she conducts lone daring missions of sabotage against a big industrial plant that is endangering the environment of her region and her entire country. Her weapons of choice are small-scale explosives, and bow and arrows. The bare bones of this plot sound like just the sort of thing for a Hollywood action film, but Woman at War is stylistically so different, so NOT Hollywood that it inhabits practically a different universe. And it's all the better for that. We care about what's going on on the screen, and about the protagonist Halla, far more here than we ever would for things like Mission Impossible or Fast and Furious or the Bond films or a dozen other franchises like them which are basically just eye candy.
There actually aren't that many true 'action' scenes: most of the screen time is devoted to interactions among the relatively small cast of characters, and some slow-burn suspense. Will Halla keep successfully evading the authorities who are ramping up their search for the saboteur? After all, Iceland is a pretty small country. Her motivation for what she's doing also would not cut very deep unless we had a well rounded picture of her life and the deep connection of her fellow Icelanders with their own land. Her sister Asa (played by the same actress -- and the scenes where Asa and Halla are both on screen are seamlessly done) comes in and out of the story, as does cousin Sveinbjorn (Johann Sigurdarson), a farmer who helps Halla at critical moments. Halla is thrown a major curve when her hoped-for chance to adopt a little orphan girl from Eastern Europe come up suddenly: does she change the course of her life to take it, or let it go and continue her profoundly risky guerilla war? There are also genuinely surprising twists -- essentially bits of luck and timing -- that make us realize that every bit of the backstory and setup in the first half of the movie was put there for a reason.
There are loads of engaging details from beginning to end. In one scene Halla is being hunted by a police drone seeking for her in the countryside near the industrial plant. She shoots it down with her bow and arrow and then stomps it to pieces. (Who wouldn't like to do that with those annoying things, just once?) The oddest touch of all, though, has to do with the music. The edgy background music is played by a small band of musicians who are sometimes actually on screen, standing just to the side of the action -- on roadsides, on city streets, by airport parking lots. Their onscreen presence usually takes place at critical junction points in the story. This eccentric touch takes a further step into the truly surreal when at times Halla actually notices them (!) as if she has stepped outside her own role.
All in all, it's very much worth seeing. A whole lot of Hollywood studio suits who are only after your money could learn from far more genuine films like this one.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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