” A WAR ” : a war of wars, a great film

The story : thee commanding officer Claus M. Pedersen and his men are assigned in a province of Afghanistan, while in Denmark, his wife, Maria, tries to cope with the daily life and raise their three children. During a routine mission, the soldiers are the target of a serious attack. To save his men, Claus will make a decision that will have far-reaching consequences for himself, but also for his family…

If you had the chance to discover the unknown Has Highjacking, previous film from Tobias Lindholm, you already had been able to appreciate his sensitivity. His trick is to build the detail as well as a mise en scene naturalistic, daily realistic and immersive. Then, observe patiently and coldly, of the characters-sponges decidedly positive absorb in themselves all the violence of their environment.

Then comes the importance of the alternation, in the process of empathy with these characters. Alternating between the “ground”, and the “country”; between the description of a job family is at the heart of an environment that is ultra-hostile, and that of the family personal to cope with the absence and the danger of one of its members; alternation between the experience of the drama and its interpretation… Between psychology and behavior, etc

Having thus exposed a substantial amount of points of view on a complex situation, Lindholm takes his characters to a point of rupture, questioning their humanity. In A WAR, this breaking point is much more climactic and pivotal than usual, which strengthens its role as inquisitor as to the notions of family, society, instinct, morality, or ethics, cleverly installed so far.

Choose the war as a reason in A WAR ten times more then the ambition is a reflexive film from Tobias Lindholm. And it was fas-ci-nant.

A WAR deals with so many of these impasses that may arise out of the conflict.

On the one hand, there is the international will and, therefore, here Danish, contain terrorism post 11/09. This one, very pragmatically, is shown as a threat omnipresent but almost invisible as fluent in his field, and whose ideology remains, even after 15 years after, and difficult to design. The Taliban remind one of those staunch opponents than were the Japanese or the Vietnamese, by giving to the afghan conflict this timeless aura of battle doomed to failure;

On the other, the whole irony of the humanitarian issue of the military presence in Afghanistan is highlighted in each of the interactions between terrorists, taliban, Danish soldiers and villagers Afghans: how to improve a situation that is deteriorating by its mere presence ? How in these conditions, striking a balance between the humanitarian and the security of the soldier himself ? The feeling altruistic is it compatible with the military strategy ? Should we systematically discredit the individual, whoever he may be, for the benefit of the group ? Of the state ?

All these issues are brought to the domain of the intimate through the choice of a commander, Claus, of which humanity is put into perspective by its inevitable hierarchy of empathies; agirions we are otherwise in a time of war ?

A WAR place and its protagonist Claus, in a few situations the TWD*: it will be necessary to do in the emergency of a situation, different kinds of moral choices outside of any comfort zone-physical, emotional, or psychological. To accomplish the military objective and, therefore, to develop a vision of the whole ? Ensure the safety of his squad, is inseparable from a certain empathy ? Assume his official responsibilities in humanitarian terms ? No positive outcome: every choice is a synonym for danger or even death, for the other two.

Tobias Lindholm has shown us through a succession of events to the logic, how the formatting military the most successful, and psychology, the more cemented in place, may yield to the violence of this war. Finally, this is the purpose of the taliban terrorists : losing to their enemy what is dearest to him. His convictions, his morals, his family (genealogical, military, patriotic). This loss of connection results in an error of judgment from AN individual, leading to the death of many others. And on a larger scale, to corruption, and then the fall of a system.

If a film such as Between two worlds, also dealt with the presence of european military in Afghanistan and held a speech certainly humanist, but naive… Tobias Lindholm takes the party to show the reality of a conflict by multiple aspects of anti-manichaean, an allegorical but cold powers inalienable of terrorism and indoctrination. A war, among others, but that seems impossible to win.

This reflection is both palpable and philosophical about the war does not end with immersion in the daily life in the army.

In parallel, Tobias Lidholm tells the daily also combative, Maria in Copenhagen. Yet, if we could think that it would be only to give an emotional context to Claus, counterpoint functional is much more complex: Tobias Lindholm captures the issues of Maria with the same energy, the same sensitivity, the same realism of the naturalist as those of Claus. Better yet, from the powerful first stage (a “surprise attack”), Lindholm installs an atmosphere and a tension very high, which déteindront in a cascade, from one scene to the other. In terms of intensity, it places the different geographical contexts and emotional film, on an equal footing. A accident home takes as much importance as the failure of a mission, the interference of a mother facing the neuroses of his 6 year old son trouble us as much as the loss of a soldier; Afghanistan / Copenhagen, commander Claus / housewive Maria, matters of life and death / small victories and failures of the education-parent… there is a sort of communicating vessel sensory between the different empathies that are created to the characters, despite their foundations are resolutely different.

“Fascinating and controlled end-to-end, A WAR is a reflection of both tangible and philosophical on the concept of war

These empathies are reinforced by the attention of Tobias Lindholm to detail, a good way to make palpable a daily life and we immerse. This applies both to the decor and in-context actions, and attitudes; and Pilou Asbæk or Tuva Novotny, actors with emotions subtly disguised under a façade of monolithic, perfect for giving importance to the insignificant. Tobias Lindholm has confidence in the expressive body of its actors to convey what is hidden in the unsaid and the absence of dialogue In this title, the stage comes to step up their game. The lack of contrast during scenes of life, marriage by phone, the dialogues placed in the off-screen sound (when Claus said, “what happened there“), or cut off unexpectedly at the moment the more emotional (“dad, did you really killed those people ?” “… …. … “).

In general, regardless of their choice of staging, Tobias Lindholm let his camera soak up a moment, that it is trivial or capital. As a viewer, we adding up all these elements to decode the characters and to transform our observations in empathy.

And then Tobias Lindholm, without warning, resulted in the convergence of all of these empathies towards the climax of the film.

During this dramatic scene of war, Claus will make a decision. This decision, as much a philanthropist as instinctive and military, is a direct and logical of all the choices previously made. It is also based on the different empathies built by writing and directed by Tobias Lindholm. So this climax is literally a balance sheet and the beginnings of a questioning of the first part. All of these elements that we had auscultated (the “land”, “home”, the military family, family genealogy, family afghan, military strategy, moral health, social health, psychological health etc) will find a thoughtful and sometimes disturbing counterpoint… Even the abuses by taliban. Pace asked, distance with the characters, human issues aside, the explanations and justifications put forward… The second dynamic of A WAR , barter violently the empathy for the relief of empathy. By these scenes, or the humanity of Claus (and by extension, that of Maria and all the others) is found and questioned, the film is metaphysical and invites us to resume our role as a human beyond the role of spectator of the film, questioning our own relationship to justice and morality. A fas-ci-nante rédéfinition !

A WAR in the end, it is both a great “war movie” (we repeat, the action scenes are a drought and an intensity that is fantastic), and a stimulating reflection on the nature of the man in the face of what it cannot control. A reflection that transcends its film material to propagate in our minds, even long after the end credits. Is this not the mark of great movies ?


Movie watching thanks to StudioCanal



Original title : Krigen

Realization : Tobias Lindholm

Screenplay : Tobias Lindholm

Main actors : Pilou Asbæk, Tuva Novotny, Dar Salim

Country of origin : Denmark

Released : June 1, 2016

Duration : 1h54min

Distributor : StudioCanal

Synopsis : The commander Claus M. Pedersen and his men are assigned in a province of Afghanistan, while in Denmark, his wife, Maria, tries to cope with the daily life and raise their three children. During a routine mission, the soldiers are the target of a serious attack…

*TWD = The Walking Dead video game (yes: all his references).

In this kind of road movie by the time zombie apocalypse, the interactivity inherent in the JV is used to build empathy towards a number of characters, that the cruelty of the environment will very often put in danger. We will need very often, we gamers take party in a hopeless situation or nobody wins but where a lot of characters die. As a sum of these elements, the conclusion of the first adventure is a peak of emotion.

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