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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic, to the point, and rather brilliant
Last year, just before the Academy voted their choices for the Oscars, Miramax launched a campaign. The campaign was pretty simple - to have the Academy, who's vote choices included Best Foreign Language Film, to actually have SEEN the foreign language films they were voting from. The only Miramax film in this category was the hugely popular French movie Amelie, which is...
Published on 30 Jan 2003 by A. Whyte

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expected
I had expected this to be far better than it actually was. After a promising start, the action became a bit contrived, especially with the introduction of the English journalist. She was one annoying character among many - including, unfortunately, the two main protagonists. I thought that the satire, and the conclusion, were a bit clunky and cumbersome, and the film...
Published on 25 Nov 2008 by The Beard


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic, to the point, and rather brilliant, 30 Jan 2003
By 
A. Whyte "charteredstreets" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Last year, just before the Academy voted their choices for the Oscars, Miramax launched a campaign. The campaign was pretty simple - to have the Academy, who's vote choices included Best Foreign Language Film, to actually have SEEN the foreign language films they were voting from. The only Miramax film in this category was the hugely popular French movie Amelie, which is what most would have been voted for without the campaign as it is probably the only film most of the voters would have seen, so this was a brave and rather admirable step for Miramax to take. The campaign was launched, the films were viewed, and No Man's Land, a Bosnian film, won.
Whether it is, in fact, better than Amelie or whether the Academy followed suit from Cannes and thought it was too 'lightweight' for an Oscar is debatable but this is still a very good war film.
The story is pretty simple. In 1993, two Bosnians and a Serb are caught in a trench between enemy lines. They - eventually - call a truce as one of the Bosnians is lying on top of an unexploded mine, planted by the Serbs to fool the Bosnians when they think the soldier is dead, that would explode if he got up and kill all of them. Things start spinning out of hand when the UN and the media become involved, not least because they all seem to speak different languages.
Dani Tanovic's biting war film has satirical touches - the situation would almost be a comic set up if it were not for the threat to the soldiers' lives. The soldiers from the opposing sides (the third, on the mine, is a smaller though crucial part), through their fights and arguments learn a little about each other and both come to the conclusion that the war will solve nothing and it is the other side's fault it started. They both have opportunities to kill each other but do not, not because they become friends but because they realise that it would be a human being they were killing rather than just another enemy soldier.
Perhaps No Man's Land does not have the scope of movies such as Apocalypse Now, or the emotional depth of movies like Platoon or Schindler's List, but it still outlines how pointless war is and the effect it can have on people. It gets the message across well, as it shows us the situation from four different viewpoints - the soldiers involved; the concerned UN blue caps ("smurfs"); the nosy news reporter; and the indifferent bigwig (played by Simon Callow).
The situation in the movie has an effect on everyone's lives involved, and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat all the way up to the inevitable, and devastating, climax. At 98 minutes it is a little short but it still manages to fulfil its purpose and this is considerably better than some of the gung-ho war movies Hollywood sporadically spews out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 3 April 2003
By 
Mr. G. Levacic "erwenstar" (lokvarka) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
It is simply one of the best films war I have ever seen.
It is film about life and how much is worth.See that film and ask yourself; how much do we appreciate and respect ourselves and others.It gives crule picture and all the answers,and it is not only a war film, it is film about humankind
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The war in a nutshell! A must for collection OSCAR WINNER, 21 Jan 2003
By 
Lejla Somun-Krupalija "bookrunner" (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) - See all my reviews
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After the first time I saw the movie I thought how it was the best, simplest and most honest portrayal of the war in Bosnia. Later on I realised it is true for any war. You are brought into the life of young people in front-line trenches, the way life really is when you face the end of the gun and not what is portrayed in newspapers and by politicians. Brilliant, tragic yet on verge of humour. Don't miss it!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional film, 24 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This film has provoked me too write my first review. No Man’s Land is a truly wonderful film and well worth of its Oscar in 2002. The film skillful illustrates the folly of war by portraying a very human relationship so often missing in the slick Hollywood production. The hopeless of the situation is frequently punctuated with wonderfully delivered black humor. A must see!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "By the way, who started the war...?", 29 Nov 2003
"No Man's Land" is a triumphant and dark satire with raw power that is both undeniable and mesmerizing. And that says a lot, being that I'm not the biggest fan of foreign films. The film is funny and tragic at the same time. Very rarely can you come across a decent movie that can successfully combine drama with comedy, let alone finding one that is superb. "No Man's Land" is indeed superb on all levels.
The film takes place during the horrific Bosnian-Serb conflict. In a strange turn-of-events, a Bosnian soldier ends up being trapped with a Serbian soldier in a trench (a wounded comrade of the Bosnian soldier is also in the trench). Both the Bosnian and Serbian sides refuse to help the two, so it's up to the UN to try to come up with a reasonable solution. Now, that would sound like a great idea, except the UN is portrayed as being extremely lazy and incompetent. While in the trench, the two armed soldiers have nothing to do but to wait for help... that is, if they don't kill each other first.
This is a unique film that is fresh and daring. Not a single boring minute went by during my whole viewing of the movie. It's tragic, and yet comical. The movie is able to work on every emotion, which is something that is very hard for a film to do successfully. While it is indeed a satire, the film does a good job of setting up the stage for the Bosnian-Serb conflict and gives us an idea of what was happening during that time. It's a film that will make you want to learn more about the conflict, which is something I highly recommend. After you read more about it, then watch the movie again and I guarantee you that you'll enjoy it a lot more the second time around.
The DVD is pretty standard, offering very little special features. The picture quality is crystal clear and the sound is great. The movie offers English, French and Spanish subtitles. Don't let the subtitles scare you, as they are extremely easy to read and follow. It's also easy to tell what's going on without reading too much into it. The only special feature available, aside from the subtitles, is the original theatrical trailer.
"No Man's Land" is an unforgettable experience that portrays a dark time in history. It is comical and sad at the same time. For somebody who isn't the biggest fan of foreign films, I must admit that I loved this movie. An interesting viewing, if you ask me.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know man's War, 16 Sep 2005
This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I first watched this film a couple of years ago on TV, to try to develop my understanding of what happened during the Yugoslav conflicts and to help improve my language skills.
I hadn't heard anything about it before so didn't hold out much hope for a great movie. How wrong can you be?
This film is a work of art. How close to reality is comes I can't say, but it brings together a real flavour of the cultures, tensions and shared past/future.
The film is compelling, humorous and downright gut wrenching. The film is undeniably gripping, delivered with spoon-full's of black humour, and punctuated with grotesque futility.
I have subsequently re-watched this movie and enjoyed bits that I'd missed first time around.
My only disappointment is with some of the translation, which is not word perfect and could have added more for those who don't know any basic Yugoslavian (sorry for lumping the languages together rather clumsily).
However, this is without doubt in my top 10 all-time must see films. So buy it (especially at such a cheap price for an Oscar winning Film).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expected, 25 Nov 2008
By 
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This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I had expected this to be far better than it actually was. After a promising start, the action became a bit contrived, especially with the introduction of the English journalist. She was one annoying character among many - including, unfortunately, the two main protagonists. I thought that the satire, and the conclusion, were a bit clunky and cumbersome, and the film could have been far more deftly put together, or funnier, or both.

Overall, not a particularly witty or substantial treatment of an interesting idea, and by no means as entertaining or thought-provoking as some of the other films to emerge from this part of the world, or which explore the futility of (this or any other) war.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Men and a Buried Mine in a Trench, 19 Mar 2004
This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
"No Man's Land," starring Branko Djuric as Ciki (pronounced Tcheeky) and Rene Bitorajac as Nino shows the pragmatics of war. These two men represent each side of the Serbian-Bosnian conflict.
Both are convinced that the other side started it, and later, both are convinced the other side is bombing them directly. Both learn of the injustices done in the name of war done by their own side.
The tension of the story is not the war, but the survival of three men, Ciki, Nino, and Cera (pronounced Tsera, played by Filip Sovagovic).
Ciki, a Bosnian, and Nino, a Serb, end up in a foxhole. Neither wants to be there, and both need the other to get out alive. They don't care about the other, even as they find some common ground like a former lover they each had. The war and its wage of death is the vault between them truly acknowledging the other's humanity, but they lean on each other awkwardly, but effectively to persuade the UN to save them, and Cera, also a Bosnian.
The trouble is that Cera lays upon a mine that will detonate when he moves. Naturally, then, he stays still. The fear of the mine blowing up provides the need for them to work toward a solution. With no obvious fix, they attract the UN, who are a mix of competent and incompetent, passive and intentional leaders. The UN's indecisiveness jeopardizes the soldiers, and their philosophical unwillingness to resolve the problem only exacerbates the anger between the soldiers.
It carefully stands away from the divisive, bitter fight, indicating that the both sides aren't pure in motivation. Each character is so far removed from whatever started the conflict, that any ending becomes a tragedy.
There are two sides to any war: those who are governing it, and those who are fighting in it. Within that war, among those fighting in it, are two more sides: those who believe in the fight, and those conscripted to be there. All are part of this movie.
"No Man's Land" shows that the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger once sang of WWII, is not just in 1942 or Vietnam. In the trenches, as a force of war's reality, evil occurs. It is the default of war that men are asked to kill, and it is the default of man that the living will die.
I fully recommend "No Man's Land." For a look at a similarly powerful movie about the Irish conflict, see Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson in 1994's "In the Name of the Father."
Anthony Trendl
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstandng, 26 Mar 2009
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
In part black comedy, throughout a harrowing anti-war film, "No Man's Land" takes us into the theatre of the absurd and a tiny amphitheatre, an abandoned trench between the Serbian and Bosnian front lines. The soldiers trapped in this war are hapless amateurs and out-of-place professionals, constrained by propaganda, suspicion, politics and prejudice ... all trying not to be trigger happy, and all acutely aware of how quickly death can occur but not how quickly they might panic. It's a war of dirty tricks and institutionalised distrust - the poor French sergeant in the UN peacekeeping force has to deal with the English and the Germans, and the Germans, of course, speak English but not French.

The Bosnians and Serbs are civilians who may have been given some rudimentary military training - enough to point and shoot an AK-47 - and a lifetime's indoctrination in hatred of the other side. The film opens with a bunch of them - these are amateurs, they don't warrant the description of patrol, section, squad, detachment - blundering through the mist trying to find their own lines.

They're going to end up in a hole in the ground ... albeit an abandoned trench. They're going to be joined there by a couple of guys from the other side ... and find themselves in the company of mines - which, of course have no way of discriminating friend from foe. They're in a hole in the ground and if they try to get out they'll trigger a booby trap or two or be shot at by both sides. Their only hope of escape is recourse to the United Nations. It becomes a black and blue comedy at this stage.

The performances are excellent, your sympathies get sucked right in to the drama and you hope against hope there will be a happy ending. A happy ending in a civil war, now that would be a twist. The claustrophobia of hatred is emphasised by the confines of the hole in the ground, the absurd ineffectualness of the UN made evident by the amount of ground they have to cover and their sense of exposure.

Tensely paced, this is a beautifully scripted and beautifully observed drama. Little people caught up in a squalid little war which constitutes their whole (maybe hole) world. This gives a whole new meaning to being in a hole.

The humour is understated, but this is a highly intense drama, a tragedy which you watch unfolding before your eyes. I watched this film while war crimes trials were under way and the news was just emerging of another mass grave of massacred civilians being uncovered. The legacy of the war is not something which is going to go away.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an unknown piece of brilliance, 24 Oct 2006
By 
M. Suter (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I sadly had never heard of this movie, and confess that i tend to only buy/rent popular Hollywood blockbuster movies with huge marketing campaigns however someone persuaded me to watch this and afterwards I wanted others like me to be more "adventurous".

This is both a touching and humerous movie which feels very true to life, and I really felt that I was watching a documentary rather then actors as they just play their part as ordinary people, not a spot of over acting in sight. It isn't a Hollywood story and that is precisely why it's so good.

This movie will appeal to a wide range of audiences so don't be put off buying this if this wouldn't normally be your thing - I guarantee you won't be dissapointed.
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No Man's Land [DVD] [2002]
No Man's Land [DVD] [2002] by Danis Tanovic (DVD - 2003)
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