OSCAR Contenders: “A War” An Important Call to Change the Rules of Engagement

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A War is one of the best movies of the year, politically correct, realistic, and approachable. The timing of this war-drama couldn't be any better as an insightful study of the Afghan conflict, its ethics, politics, and in the aftermath with the soldiers and their families in the West. 


A War is moral discussion about what is right and wrong in wartime, it is this year's Oscar winner The Hurt LockerOn the page, A War contains several layers of emotions that connect society with the government, the law with witnesses; the criminals with judges; the terrorists with its victims; and soldiers with their families.


A War evidences an endemic system that faces terrorism in the world, which is currently confronting democratic countries.

The action starts when the Denmark's government decides to join the U.S. and other ally countries in the military confrontation with the Taliban.

With this decision many questions arise: Where the war is taking place, in a foreign land or back home? Who is the enemy, the rebels or the comrades? Who is guilty, the commander who makes the decisions or the soldiers who execute them?

Danish Commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbaek) stationed in Afghanistan is fighting with the Coalition. In crossfire with the enemy, Claus had to make a decision with enormous repercussions back home.

In Denmark, the Commander's wife and children have to deal with the absence of their father. They have to cope for themselves, even if they are deeply affected by the war.

Claus has to face criminal charges in a civil court for violation against civil and human rights.

During the trial, we see who supports him and who betrays him. 

The cross-examination is gripping, intense, well put together, and it raises the tension for the surprising outcome.

The dialogs used by the defense, witnesses, and judge are credible, realistic and straightforward.

One of the greatest assets of this movie is making the soldiers more human.

A memorable scene comes when Claus and his family walk on the beach observing seagulls, a metaphor for freedom.

A War Director, Tobias Lindholm delivers another powerful, intense, and impeccable masterpiece.

A War is the second nomination for best foreign film for Lindholm after his critically acclaimed modern-day pirates drama A Hijacking in 2012. 

Now, we will see if his most recent film can earn him the gold statuette at this time. The well-researched script displays some of the same moral values depicted in the also Danish film In a Better World, the 2011 Oscar Winner m for best foreign film, directed by Susanne Bier. 

A War goes way far beyond of Zero Dark Thirty. 

In a conversation I had with director Tobias Lindholm during the AFI Fest 2015, he gave some advice to the new filmmakers: "Keep it real, be patient, and go with the flow in the filmmaking process." 

And as a father, he reflects: "In a war time, who will tuck your children into bed tomorrow, if you won't be able to be there for them." 

The director's own exceptional screenplay presents the true facts of a war-crime that may not occur in the way it was perceived. 

At the end, the spectator needs to find out if a shadow of the doubt prevails. 

Reprinted with the expressed permission of Jose Alberto Hermosillo of www.FestivalinLA.com

Follow us on twitter: @FestivalinLA

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