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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2014
I bought this around a year ago, having tried to get it from retail shops in the UK, but no one had heard of it. I began watching it, and stopped at the first scene of a young woman, being pulled from the group and raped in front of the others. I really couldn't stomach it. Anyway, I decided the other night that I'd try again, knowing this time what to expect, and I'm glad I did.

It's a heartbreaking story, not the fictional storyline, which is good, but the realistic portrayal of the Bosnian war, and the attrocities which took place...so much for the United Nations, and a post WW2 pledge never to allow such genocide to happen again. To see how these people were treated, (the excellent 'Warriors' is also worth watching) no different to the Nazi's treatment of the Jews, Roma, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled etc. I don't know all the politics involved regarding the failure to intervene, but it's unbelievable that this was allowed to happen just 20 years ago, and whilst the UN were there, fully armed, they could do nothing but 'monitor' the situation, and allow the killing to continue. I've since referred to the UN as the Useless Nations!

If you can stomach the scenes of violation, and humiliation, then this is an excellent film, and one which people really ought to see, because unfortunately, it will undoubtedly happen again, indeed happens regularly in several African countries!
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on 19 June 2014
Angelina Jolie proves she is a as good a Director as she is Actor.

The content of this movie is sometimes hard to watch but not glorified in any way. I had little idea of the reasons behind the Serbian war with the Croatia or interest I guess, watching this has bought the reality of it close to home, it could happen in any again modern day society. Christians V Moslems , another war that divided a nation and killed so many.

The main theme is of course the heartfelt cause of Ms Jolie and many millions of women around the world , rape as a weapon of war / torture, this film shows it in all that is cruel and degrading .

I've lent the film to friends, we've all agreed its an excellent, thought provoking movie.
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on 23 February 2017
I really enjoyed the movie and I cannot believe it got such a low rating. I cannot stop thinking about it since I watched it. The movie starts that this was the biggest human crisis since WW2, and now at present, very similar things are happening in Syria. Really sad. I didn't take it as Serbian against Bosnian, but more generic perspective - human tragedy.
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on 9 January 2015
Cannot say I loved it because this sort of film should not be loved because of it theme. Well acted. Thought provoking and made me look up the historical content. Wanted to find out more.
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Despite the Dutch subtitles (why was the only reasonably-priced copy of the film available on Amazon a Dutch import?) which could not be turned off, I found this film a totally engrossing experience. Set during the Bosnian War, it explores the love affair between Ajla, a Bosniak artist, and Danijel, a Bosnian Serb policeman turned army officer. The lovers begin dating just before the war, which separates them. When, months later, Ajla is captured and imprisoned, Danijel determines to help her, despite the distrust for Bosniaks that his father has indoctrinated in him. He makes her his personal prisoner, helps her to escape, and later, when she is recaptured in Sarajevo, he takes her back as his 'official war artist' and mistress. But can this relationship survive in wartime particularly when Ajla, despite caring deeply for Danijel, becomes convinced that she should help to avenge the Serbs' treatment of her people?

There are several wonderful things about this film, despite a couple of ambiguities of plot that I'm still not sure about (is Ajla's recapture genuine, or a plot so that she can spy on Danijel? If so why doesn't she get news to the Resistance earlier? And does she actually betray him at all?) One is the filming, which people who were actually in Sarajevo at the time of the War say really evokes a feel for the city. Battle scenes contrast with subtle explorations of the landscape round Sarajevo, and of Ajla painting or - in one of the film's best episodes - making a secret trip to the Museum of Art with Danijel. Everything is subtle and non-sensationalist, and the effect is magical. I also felt the film depicted the relationship between Danijel and Ajla very well, showing how a potentially very healthy relationship gets distorted into one between oppressor and victim during wartime - but how the love between the two is strong enough for humaner feelings to regularly surface. The pair became a darker and more tragic version of Romeo and Juliet, which worked well. I also found the utter lack of sentimentality or sensationalism, despite some brutal scenes and a Hollywood star director, was very impressive. It certainly gets you thinking a lot about war, showing you that there are no simple 'goodies' and 'baddies' and that even alleged oppressors can become victims in their way.

A fascinating and very well made film that has made me extremely interested in Yugoslavia and its history.
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on 7 February 2016
The film had Dutch subtitles throughout which it does mention in the blurb but that I assumed could be turned off. Because much of the film is sotto voce this made comprehension tricky at times.

The actual content is pretty harrowing at times and the film relies on this to add pace. It is a meandering piece without the shock content, sort of a cross between art house and horror documentary.

While I have seen better versions of similar subject matter, this is a good attempt at illustrating an all too recent horror that shows that we never really learn the lessons from history. The Bosnian conflict is under explored in film and literature and Angelina Jolie has done a credible job of exposing it to a wider audience.
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on 12 March 2016
I would give this copy of the movie 4 stars except the version sent to me is missing at least one scene that I know of and I suspect another one or more. Having seen the originial at BAFTA it was frustrating not to get the full version here. Additionally, the foreign subtitles on the screen are equally frustrating. Other than that this movie is a good (albeit brutal) watch, quite beautifully and sensitively crafted although quite fast paced. It does appear biased but is not if you listen to the dialogue and know the historical context. Ultimately it is a story of tragedy on an individual human and large scale. Definitaly worth buying but perhaps not from this supplier.
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on 7 December 2014
Well acted and shows the horrors of that war. Bought with 'As If I Am Not There' that I think is the better of the 2 films about the treatment of civilians in that war.
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on 20 July 2015
A gruelling reminder of the horror of the Yugoslav civil war and its impact on the civilian population.
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on 20 April 2014
I chose this rating as it didn't hold me I found that I could leave it without pausing and then go back to it
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