Review: A Private War (2018)

A Private War (2018)

Directed by: Matthew Heineman | 110 minutes | biography, drama | Actors: Rosamund Pike, Alexandra Moen, Tom Hollander, Faye Marsay, Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Raman Srinivasan, Natasha Jayetileke, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Amanda Drew, Hilton McRae, Fady Elsayed, Corey Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Greg Wise, Jérémie Laheurte

Some things never change. Ask children what they want to be when they grow up and you will always get the same answers. Boys choose to be a pilot, firefighter or professional football player. Girls choose fashion model, stewardess or princess. A profession that is never mentioned, not even among older children, is that of war journalist. After watching ‘A Private War’ we understand why.

The Anglo-American war drama ‘A Private War’ tells the true story of English war reporter Marie Colvin. We follow Marie on her missions to Iraq, Sri Lanka, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. We see newly discovered mass graves, terrifying militias blocking the road, bombed-out cities, burnt-out army trucks. We hear the impact of bombs, the racket of machine guns and the ominous silence before a full-scale attack.

‘A Private War’ partly focuses on the miserable events that Colvin witnesses. The war journalist focused mainly on the suffering of innocent victims, especially women and children. In addition, the film shows the mental damage that misery causes to the journalist herself, from a post-traumatic stress disorder to an unhealthy, intense desire for drink, cigarettes and sex. At the same time, we understand that the profession of war journalist can only be done for people who already have a frayed edge. Like Colvin. Or like the legendary Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinsk about whom the beautiful animated film ‘Another Day of Life’ appeared in 2018.

The alternation between exciting war rumble and psychological drama works well in ‘A Private War’. The fact that the war images focus less on the violence than on its unfortunate result (comparable to the gruesome documentary ‘For Sama’) is also a plus. The ever-reliable Rosamund Pike puts down a convincing Colvin and with supporting roles by Tom Hollander and Faye Marsay you’re also in the right place.

The only downside is in the last 20 minutes. While war is portrayed in the first hour and a half as an explosion of violence between two guilty camps, the film loses its impartiality in the last act. By placing too much emphasis on the Assad regime’s war crimes, the film loses the objective force of its earlier message. It was that war only has losers and that war journalist is not exactly a dream profession. Unlike pilot, professional footballer or princess.

Comments are closed.