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A War review: Moral dilemmas in the heat of battle

A War (15, 115 mins)

By Andrew Johnston

Published 08/01/2016

Pilou Asbæk
Pilou Asbæk

Going by its stark moniker and the promotional stills of a grizzled soldier in combat gear, you could be forgiven for thinking A War is the new Jason Statham movie or suchlike. But the third film from Danish writer-director Tobias Lindholm, following R (2010) and 2012's excellent hostage drama A Hijacking, is more arthouse effort than action flick.

Titled Krigen in its native language, Lindholm's latest examines the moral and ethical dilemmas facing soldiers in the heat of battle.

Pilou Asbæk, the star of Lindholm's previous pictures, portrays Danish army commander Claus Petersen, whose unit is stationed in Afghanistan.

In the carrying out of their daily duties, Claus's men are compelled to befriend the local population, while also viewing all Afghans as potential enemies. Superficial comparisons can be made with the likes of The Hurt Locker, Lone Survivor or American Sniper, but A War is its own movie.

The film's commitment to realistic visuals and performances can't be faulted, even if Lindholm's ultimately liberal reading of the situation might not sit well with all viewers.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph

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