Theatrical Reviews

A Private War Review

Aprivate War 1

Studio:
Altitude Film   

What’s It About?
The true story of renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin, who worked for The Sunday Times and died reporting from Homs in Syria, on the orders of  the Syrian government.   

Who’s In It?
Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, Gone Girl, & more recently Entebbe)
Jamie Dornan (The Fall, Fifty Shades, & more recently Robin Hood)   

Other notables include:
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones, Spotlight, & more recently The Children Act)
Tom Hollander (In The Loop, The Night Manager, & more recently Bohemian Rhapsody)   

Director: Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land, City Of Ghosts)   

Audiences Expect:
Following the success including an Oscar nomination for his documentary Cartel Land, director Matthew Heineman has turned his attention to the war correspondent Marie Colvin, who was targeted by the Syrian government while doing her job, reporting from a war zone in Homs.
In truth, A Private War could easily have been a documentary, and Heineman, alongside renowned cinematographer Robert Richardson (think Kill Bill, Shutter Island, Adrift), captures the panic inducing danger of being in a war zone through the use of handheld cameras.
The film follows Colvin through a series of war zones, establishing her courageous credentials and desire to tell the truth, losing an eye out in the field, her work being recognised by her contemporaries, and teaming up with photographer Paul Conroy before ultimately being killed in Syria in 2012.
After some blistering performances of late in Gone Girl and Hostiles, Rosamund Pike goes one better with an astonishing and uncompromising performance as the war correspondent – surprisingly being overlooked for any nominations. Jamie Dornan gives strong support in a somewhat underwritten role, while there is little space for Tom Hollander as her editor, and Stanley Tucci as her boyfriend, to flourish.
Indeed there is little to no background on Colvin and the limited detail and weak characterisation unfortunately really does hamper the film and the audience’s connection.   

In A Nutshell:
Another breathtaking performance from Rosamund Pike as the remarkable journalist, but the film is undone by its limited characterisation and detail.    

Highlight:
Rosamund Pike’s outstanding turn   

Lowpoint:
The weak characterisation and detail


Certificate: 15

EDITOR’S CHOICE