Tom (Freddie Cunliffe), an alienated 15 year old boy, finds the that opportunity for close observation of his father, after their move from London to rural Devon and the birth of a new baby, reveals a world run through with darkness and pain. Tom is unable to reconcile the life he's known what he sees with his own eyes, and blames his 18 year old sister, Jessie (Lara Belmont). Both Tom and Jessie struggle to find some path to truth and sanity as the human forces around them work in polarity with their isolation to either assist them, or destroy them. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Probably the worst thing about Tim Roth's audacious directorial debut is its title: 'The War Zone' conjures images of something rather noisier, and less subtle, than this film about aberrant sexuality within a family unit. Roth is brave enough to show love among the hate, and to assign a limited degree of complicit guilt to the apparent victim: the film gains greatly from both of these decisions. He also has interesting visual ideas: the film is full of lonely, widescreen images in which the central subjects appear almost lost; and homely Devon has never looked wilder and less civilised than it does here, depicted in winter and at night. Roth also gets great performances from all his cast: in what is essentially a four-hander, Tilda Swinton is good in a limited part, Ray Winstone shows (not for the first time) that he has talents beyond those required for his customary hard-man roles, but it's the young actors who are most outstanding: Freddie Cunliffe as the troubled boy who discovers dark secrets, and especially the beautiful, opaque Laura Belmont who is simply tremendous as his sexually aware, not-as-cool-as-she-seems sister. At time the soundtrack seems a bit generic, and I'm not entirely convinced by the open ending, but this is still a better film than many directors make in their careers. On the strength of this movie, Roth should enjoy a long career behind the camera.
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