movie film review | chris tookey

No Manís Land

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  No Manís Land Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.50 /10
Ciki: Branko Djuric, Nino Rene Bitorajac, Cera Filip Sovagovic
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Directed by: Danis Tanovic
Written by: Danis Tanovic

Released: 2001
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: Bosnia-Herzegovina/ Slovenia
Colour: C
Length: 97

The central irony is that two soldiers from opposing sides, a Serb and a Bosnian, have more in common with each other than they realise, and less in common with the well-meaning but baffled UN officials and soldiers who are trying to stop them from killing each other in a no man's land trench, while saving a second Bosnian whose body has been booby-trapped with a mine.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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A surprise winner of Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, Danis Tanovic's picture is a parable about the absurdity of war. I've seen it hailed as a witty comedy, but I can't say I detected any laughs in it, nor indeed much wit.

The film was spoiled for my by the fact that the two British characters - a tough, manipulative TV news reporter (Katrin Cartlidge) and a complacent UN commander (Simon Callow) do and say things that savour of caricature, rather than research. This undermined my confidence in the rest of it.

It is mildly interesting to see with just how jaundiced an eye a Bosnian film-maker regards foreign intervention; but as drama this too often resembles a fringe stage play. Its ironies are laboured, and initial promise fizzles out into platitudes. The booby-trapped Bosnian is rather too obviously symbolic of his country.

War may indeed be hell, but this film - though respectably written, directed and acted - doesn't add anything to our understanding of it.

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