A couple of months ago the description of Angelina Jolie’s writing and directing debut was that it was a love story set in the time of the Bosnian war. I walked out of the film realizing that no matter how they want to describe it, this is a film about war. It is about a war that most American don’t know or understand and sadly, a war that most people here in the US don’t care about.
But luckily Angelina Jolie decided that this war will not disappear just because it is convenient so she put pen to paper (at night after the kids had gone to sleep – can this woman do everything?) and wrote the script not really thinking it would be made. But she is one of the most popular woman on the planet and she is the highest paid female star so she was able to get this film made on a small budget and on her own terms.
Not surprisingly to me — but surprisingly to many — she is quite a good director and the film, though brutal and difficult to watch, is very good. It’s incredibly well cast by most people who experienced the war and really gives you a sense of how this war pitted potential lovers against each other just because of how they were born. It also reminds us of the absurdity of war. Jolie also squarely takes on the use of rape as a tool of war and does not shy away from brutal depictions.
I feel this film is stuck in the pattern we have seen for women directed films this year, they are good and just not getting the necessary attention to rise above the din in terms of the awards discussion. This film is a mighty good directorial debut and is worthy of praise for what is seen on screen not just because of Angelina Jolie’s popularity.