A War follows Danish military commander Claus Pedersen and his company who are stationed in an Afghan province. Life comes to a crossroad when, while caught in the middle of an intense fire fight, Pedersen orders an air strike on a civilian compound. His orders put him in jeopardy of being sentenced to prison and pushing his life with his wife and kids into further chaos.
The Good: The acting is top notch. Pilou Asbaek does a fantastic job as the well-meaning, even-keel company commander who tries valiantly to balance the lives of his troops with his life as a husband and father back home. Award-winning director Tobias Lindholm (A Hijacking, The Hunt) who wrote and directed the film does a good job of breaking up the focus of each act – we meet the family and troops in Act 1, get pulled into the pivotal fire fight in Act 2, and see the stirring outcome in Act 3.
The Bad: There isn’t much bad with the film. While it is titled A War, you have to go into the movie knowing that it isn’t going to be some wall-to-wall Michael Bay wet dream. The title speaks in terms of not only the literal war the men are fighting in, but also the war that is happening among the relationships of the characters in the film. If the film is guilty of anything that may off-put some viewers, it’s that it spends a little too much time showcasing the struggles of life on duty and at home.
A War opens in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York on February 12. The film is nominated for a Best Foreign Picture Oscar.