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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Beautiful
This is one of the best films I have ever seen. The performances from all the cast are wonderful but I cannot praise Belmont and Cunliffe for their portrayals of the brother and sister. As Tom (Cunliffe) gives us our view of the drama, his performance is crucial but he truly excels. Jess (Belmont) has to go through some of the most difficult scenes in the film and...
Published on 30 July 2005 by thekvetch

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A cowardly adaptation of a truly controversial book
If you want a by the numbers exploration of a seemingly average family hiding an abusive sexual relationship this is the film for you. I have no gripe with the script, permformances or direction and although it has the usual made for TV look of so many British social drama films it makes up for this with it's bleak atmosphere and appropriate locations. But that's where it...
Published on 8 Sep 2006 by Malcolm Lawn


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Beautiful, 30 July 2005
This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This is one of the best films I have ever seen. The performances from all the cast are wonderful but I cannot praise Belmont and Cunliffe for their portrayals of the brother and sister. As Tom (Cunliffe) gives us our view of the drama, his performance is crucial but he truly excels. Jess (Belmont) has to go through some of the most difficult scenes in the film and express the most complicated emotions. These two young actors carry this film and make it the masterpiece it is.
Tim Roth's direction is also one of the best I have ever seen, especially considering this is his debut.
As others have said this film is not easy to watch, but it is very beautiful and contains some of the best performances I have ever seen.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am relatively surprised this one got past the censor!, 23 Feb 2001
This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Fundamentally, The War Zone is a drama that follows the misfortunes of what first appears to be a functional working-class family, who have moved from London to a remote house in the country. From the outset the film is as real a piece of social documentation as you will find (I could compare it to the masterful ONCE WERE WARRIORS, or perhaps NIL BY MOUTH; maybe even something by Mike Leigh), penetrating the heart of one of our deepest taboos with a big barbed hook, and yanking it roughly out into the open for all to see. Ray Winstone (SCUM; NIL BY MOUTH; THE FINAL CUT; LOVE, HONOUR AND OBEY) gives a tour-de-force performance as the sexually abusive sweet-talker who suddenly finds his whole world falling apart around him when his son stumbles upon a shocking incestuous liaison that will change all their lives forever. From the car crash that heralds the arrival of baby Alice, to the final, gruelling conclusion, I was both wrapt and horrified by the no-holds-barred attitude of nascent director Tim Roth - formerly an actor of no little talent (MEANTIME; MADE IN ENGLAND; THE HIT; RESERVOIR DOGS; PULP FICTION) who seems to have turned his somewhat ruthless efforts to writing and directing. Creditable performances are made by the entire cast, but the prize goes to Mr Winstone, who we can always rely on to take us to the edge - in this case we get a helping hand by Mr Roth, and are consequently plummeted into the dark, dank recesses of the human condition with very little in the way of a safety net. I will definately be keeping a nervous eye out for what he comes up with next...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very upsetting but impressive movie!, 18 Jun 2009
This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
The War zone funnily enough was filmed not far away from where I live in Devon.The story involves a family,who locate from London to Devon.The film itself is see through the sons eyes,Tom.He spies on his sister and suspects his dad of sexual abuse towards his sibling.

The movie is very compelling and has alot of replay value.There will be people who will see it and blacklist it but the film is very true to life,forcing you to see it as in the here and now.Without spoiling anything the movie is shocking on a couple of scenes.Watch but only if you are strong minded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw drama that will stay with you for a long time, 14 May 2009
By 
Flmfn (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This intense family drama got dark and horrifying to the point where it was almost too hard for me to keep watching. Yet at the same time it was so compelling I watched it all the way through and kept thinking about it for days afterwards. This film definitely will not leave you feeling even slightly uplifted, but it will stay with you for a long time because of it's intense emotion and strange dark beauty.

Great acting as expected from the two leads, but the two young actors playing the brother and sister really blew me away. I'm sure it took a lot of courage (not to mention great direction from Tim Roth) for them to act this drama out in such a raw and intense way.

For lovers of dark, realistic arthouse-style drama. Definitely not for the fainthearted (as it contains graphic scenes of sexual abuse and violence).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A warning, 26 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Ilove Ray Winstones work.Nothing prepared me for this film,the subject matter is harrowing ,that said ,its one of his best,and i admire him for taking on such a disturbing role,not dvd i could see again tho since i have seen it,the film comes into my mind from time to time ,and iam sad for a few moments, sign of a film well made even if the theme is hard to take.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A cowardly adaptation of a truly controversial book, 8 Sep 2006
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This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
If you want a by the numbers exploration of a seemingly average family hiding an abusive sexual relationship this is the film for you. I have no gripe with the script, permformances or direction and although it has the usual made for TV look of so many British social drama films it makes up for this with it's bleak atmosphere and appropriate locations. But that's where it ends - it comes over as a predictably depressing, if worthy dramatised guide to contemporary attitudes surrounding sexual abuse and the traumas that create and sustain such twisted relationships. Why do I rate it so low? Simple - apart from the bare bones of the set up the film has almost nothing to do with the book on which it is supposedly based. The book is all about the nature of corruption, is it innate, is it learned, do the corrupted become corrupters? It asks disturbing questions about victims and absusers, how the roles might develop over time and dares to suggest shocking alternatives to current dogma. In the book there is more than one abusive relationship depicted and the father is nothing like Ray Winstone's brutish interpretation but, vitally, the daughter is not presented as a victim. The film does away with all this complexity and virtually ignores the relationships and the characters of the protagonists the original author created. It would have taken great courage to make a faithful adaptation The War Zone and the filmmakers clearly bugged out. They were happy to use book title to promote their work and create that frisson of controversy but they're hiding behind it. They've given us a well made but mundane experience when they could have given us something so much better, so much more original and truly thought provoking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing- be warned!, 26 Jan 2013
By 
Pete Johnson "Pete Johnson" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Not for the easily offended, or people who don't rate Ray Winstone; this dark family drama gives Mr.Winstone yet another chance to play himself, at least his bad side. I like him, and think that he is over-criticised, but that's me. This film has a great cast. As well as Ray, we get Tilda Swinton, Colin Farrell, and terrific performances from Freddie Cunliffe, and Lara Belmont, as the teenage children, unhappy at being displaced to rural Devon. To say a lot more might get me into the territory of plot-spoliers, so I won't. This has distressing scenes, and scenes of a sexual nature. It is stressful, difficult at times, and yet remains a powerful, and emotional work, of some worth. Directed by Tim Roth, the well-known actor, this is a British Drama of the old-school, and all the better for that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing - yet compelling., 1 Jan 2011
By 
Ben Bottle (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film troubled me - really troubled me!
The story-line is uncomfortable; as incest SHOULD be!
But the performances are exceptional - particularly from the younger element; Freddie Cunliffe as Tom and Lara Belmont as the "victim", Jessie. It would appear that everybody is a victim.
I am NOT a fan of Ray Winstone, I just cannot hack the guy, but he excels as the "nasty element".
Also - this, (I assume), is one of Tilda Swinton's early roles - she plays the APPARENTLY indifferent wife and mother so well.
I hope that I have not submitted too many spoilers but one cannot hide from such a subject matter.
The film is almost "budget" in its presentation but relentless in its purpose.
Make your own mind up!
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRUTAL BEAUTY., 10 May 2003
By 
RYAN OLIVER AKA RID_ICULE. (YORK / BRISTOL, ,ENGLAND ,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film is not going to appeal to everyone's taste so 'popcorn-pinheads'don't even bother! However, if you long to watch REAL drama with gut-renching emotion and the perfomances to match, then 'THE WAR ZONE' is challenging enough for even the sternest of stomachs.
Incest is the theme, however, the subject isn't just routinely 'tippy-toed' around. The director (Tim Roth) plummets us head first into this gulf of depravity with no safty net. As the story unfolds and suspicions are vindicated the tention becomes almost unbearable, climaxing with sheer horror and pure despair when the ghastly act is graphically demonstrated.
Every componant of the film making process shares the responsibility for sculpting this dark yet highly original, beautifully crafted masterpiece. Tim Roth's direction is economical, subtle yet strong and purposeful. The bleak, harsh landscape, accompanied by its fixed charcol skies and sodden terrain, increase the oppressive feeling of dread. A few rays of sunlight manage to intrude on the woe during the films main theme music; but only momentarily. A few light hearted keys are all to brief, when after a slight pause, the dirge looms back in; reminding us of what we are soon to be witness to.
The quality of the acting in this remarkable film can only be described as profound and is without question the film's crowning glory. Ray Winstone lends his reliable outstanding best as the foul father. However, it is the children who supply the gutsiest performances. Freddie Cunliffe is perfectly cast as the gorky teenage lad (Tom) with "..a face like a well slapped arse ", to quote the script. Thank God he's no D'Capprio. The camera soaks up his raw, natural attributes (or lack of them).
Above all these it is Lara Belmont's rendition of Jessie which is most poinant. I cannot praise Lara enough for her unflinching dedication to this most uncomfortable of roles. Whatever the scene demands, no matter how harrowing or extreme the emotion, she excels (and then some!). How this young woman can digest such unmanageable, controversial material and deliver a performance of such poise, beauty and power is beyond me. I'm at a loss to recall a role, male or female, which is as potentially disturbing as the plight of Jessie. Whoever won the Oscar for best actress in 1999 should return it to its rightful owner.
I have great admiration and a facination for films which push the boundaries of what is deemed exceptable. You could refer to such as 'extreme cinema'. I have a great curiosity and a resilient tolerance when confronted with images of this nature; and I am not in the slight bit squeamish. So when considering how 'THE WAR ZONE'S' most graphic scene rates on the shock metre, I believe it fairs favourably in the conpany of those from 'THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE' and 'HENRY:PORTRAIT OF A CEREAL KILLER'. However, unlike the latter two films it is not skin, flesh or bone but the trust, emotions and the rights of the victims which are being graphically torn apart.
'THE WAR ZONE' cannot boast 'A' list Hollywood actors or million dollar, CGI special effects. No seasonded director or 'feel good' ending.'THE WAR ZONE' is a 'small-scale' domestic drama, which emotively, feels epic in proportion. True enough, this isn't a film that you would dare to endure time and time again but one that will haunt your thoughts from the moment the credits start rolling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 July 2014
By 
R. Ardis - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War Zone [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Great
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