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Saturday, June 7, 2008

THE WAR ZONE (1999)

This one note domestic tragedy works damn hard to be powerful (the spirit of Thomas Hardy hovers all over the place), but Tim Roth (moving behind the camera) encourages a veritable orgy of self-embalming acting exercises. Ray Winstone is the seemingly solid dad who is secretly buggering his almost adult daughter. His teenage son is both horrified and possibly jealous, but too horny & scared to do anything about it until he sees evidence of the same crime starting up with his new baby sister. It’s certainly horrific stuff, but the story neither adds up nor goes anywhere. As the (willingly?) unawares Mom, Tilda Swinton is always worth watching, and Colin Farrell fanciers can spot him in an early bit. Like so many actors turned director, Roth opts for an almost plotless character study and turns out painfully earnest stuff.

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