A Private War Movie Review - It's Pike's show all the way
It's actually Rosamund Pike's impressive ferocity that makes this experience close-to befitting
A Private War
U/A: Biography, Drama, War
Director: Arash Amel
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci
This biopic of sorts on Marie Colvin's exploits as a modern day war correspondent is Arash Amel's recant based on Marie Brenner's Vanity Fair article "Marie Colvin's Private War." Directed by documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman ("Cartel Land," "City of Ghosts"), this , his first narrative film, takes us into brutal and terrifying experiences of war through the eyes of the fearless journalist and documentarian covering it in spite of grave risk to her own life. In her own words - she cared enough to go to these places (where despots and rebels wreaked havoc on innocent civilians ) and write in a way to make someone else care about it.
The narrative begins with overhead shots of an obliterated 2012 Homs, Syria, with voiceover of the real Colvin being interviewed. That voice resounds throughout the film with Rosamund Pike replicating that very cadence and brusqueness with absolute confidence. Colvin wins several awards for her dare-devilry reportage, loses an eye while reporting on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, has a messed up relationship with her on-gain, off again husband and is resistant to a desk job often offered to her by her concerned editor Sean Ryan(Tom Hollander). She reported on complex conflicts. by finding the most dramatic, personal story at its heart. She questions warlords, trumps up protectionist directives, makes the war mongers face up to the devastation and destruction they have caused - driven by an enduring desire to give voice to the voiceless. And it's this constant charge into danger that eventually takes her much revered life.
Watch the trailer here:
Heineman's narrative has psychological depth but the sequential build-up is not entirely compelling. The story-telling here is not exactly smooth sailing though. The narrative seems a little spasmodic – working well in war zone set-ups but looking awkward and out of sorts in other scenarios. Through most of the narrative we are watching but never getting affected by what's going on and it's only when the narrative returns back to the Homs operations that we start to get emotionally connected to Colvin's brave but foolhardy decision to go on with the reporting despite everyone else being evacuated. It's actually Rosamund Pike's impressive ferocity that makes this experience close-to befitting. She is one with the character, embodying the very essence of the woman tormented and rendered impotent by the cruel acts of so-called civilised barbarians.
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