The film stars Børgen and Game of Thrones actor Pilou Asbæk as Claus, a commanding officer posted in Afghanistan. The film flits between life for Claus in the field, and the repercussions of his absence for wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) and their three young children, back at home in Denmark.
Lindholm's film refuses to shy away from exposing the brutality of war, featuring moments of shocking, unpredictable violence. At the same time, A War explores mundane life for civilians and soldiers after lengthy military occupation, its cinematography capturing communality across enemy lines with immense beauty and delicacy.
When Claus finds himself in a situation of unforeseeable distress, he makes a split-second decision, one that has dark and dangerous repercussions. What begins as a tough combat film, reminiscent of The Hurt Locker becomes at its conclusion a difficult psychological and philosophical exploration of criminality and responsibility. Ultimately, A War asks the question of how accountable soldiers are for their actions, and whether different rules should apply to culpability in situations of high psychological pressure.
A War's sensitivity towards both civilian and solder makes it unique, as it puts the audience right into the field of action. Feelings of mistrust in light of destruction on both sides are palpable, and go some way in justifying the actions of both Afghans and Danish solders.
One moment of unsettling brutality sees a group of solders laughing gleefully as they stand around the dead body of a Taliban fighter. Yet A War refuses to vilify any of its characters, displaying instead the intensity of emotion felt by soldiers when their lives and those of their comrades come under threat. Similarly, Lindholm's film explores the stoicism of families at home, ultimately making a poignant comment about the cost of war to both civilians and combatants.
Starring real life soldiers, alongside powerful performances from the film's lead actors, Lindholm's film is an ultra-realistic, moving and often brutal picture of the complexities inherent in modern combat: no wonder then, that it's one of the nine titles nominated for the Oscars' best Foreign Language film category.
UK release date: 8 January.
|What||'A War', Denmark's nomination for The Oscars' Foreign Films category|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
08 Jan 16 – 31 Mar 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to the film's IMDB page|