Sunday, October 28, 2018

Movie with Abe: A Private War

A Private War
Directed by Matthew Heineman
Released November 2, 2018

When given the choice, many people run from danger. There are degrees to which those who find themselves in precarious situations on a regular basis will opt to remain there, often out of a sense of duty, whether professional or ethical, to protect those whose livelihoods will be placed into even greater peril following their departure. Running headfirst into a place where safety is far from guaranteed without any sort of backup requires a special kind of courage, and attaining the rewards for such behavior often require paying the ultimate price.

Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) is a war reporter whose assignments have taken her all over the world. When given the chance, she immediately jumps on a plane and heads to conflicted zones where the situation is only worsening, determined to get the full story and to expose whatever injustice is occurring. Her resilience more than often translates to stubbornness, frustrating her editor (Tom Hollander), though the copy she sends back always astounds. After losing sight in one eye in Sri Lanka, Colvin continues to press on, hiring a photographer (Jamie Dornan) and heading deep into one of the worst conflicts she has ever experienced: the civil war in Syria in 2012.

Director Matthew Heineman is a respected documentary filmmaker, whose previous works “Cartel Land” and “City of Ghosts” have received tremendous praise. As a narrative film, his latest project recreates many historical circumstances, dramatizing them to convey the horrors that Colvin witnessed and reported on in her life. That lens doesn’t feel nearly as effective as a documentary presentation might have, coming off as less authentic and impactful. What does transmit is the endlessness of the conflicts Colvin experiences and the importance, especially in today’s world, of reporting and broadcasting the truth, something that was so ingrained as an eternal priority in Colvin’s mind.

Pike, who received an Oscar nomination for her title role in “Gone Girl,” bears a striking resemblance under her red hair and eyepatch to the real Colvin, but it’s hard to sympathize with the character due to her gruff exterior. Much of this film deals with the effects of what Colvin has witnessed on her mental health and the way in which that influences her every relationship and friendship. It’s a decent tribute to the life and incredible work of the late Colvin, whose commitment to telling the stories of those who couldn’t makes her well worth remembering and celebrating.


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