REVIEW: A War (2016) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: A War (2016)


You don’t see too many War in Afghanistan movies.  I wonder why that is.  You could say that it is not a war that is easily ‘sexed up’, a dirty war with the tactics of both sides being easily questionable and not conducive to great newspaper headlines.  Much of it taking place in the south of Afghanistan too, kind of like on another baron planet. Why make movies about that?  They’re not going to sell.  However for others like the Danes, who had their own contingent there, for their smaller country this is a bigger deal.  And they’ve made a movie about it, ‘A War’.  No points for title creativity, and I don’t care if you were going for grim simplicity.

The film follows a Danish infantry company on standard duty led by Pilou Asbæk.  Asbæk by the way also starred in another thriller about Somali pirates hijacking his boat.  Another Danish movie, they also had a creative title for this one… can you guess what it is? (A Hijacking).  Anyway, the soldiers go through the motions.  Patrol.  Detect IEDs. Snipe an insurgent.  Bandage a local kid up in return for intel on enemy movement.  Then, of course, ambush. How Asbæk responds to the big battle in the middle of the movie leads to legal drama in the third act.

‘A War’ is a drama, not an action movie.  It shoots back and forth between the lead character trying to keep his men alive and to his wife in Denmark trying to manage three children wondering where their father is, of which there was too much I thought.  We seen too much of the wife covering menial tasks such as taking hold of a petulant boy in this ‘war’ movie.  Gotta have something for the feminist lobby I suppose.

If this is Denmark’s big ‘coming to terms with’ movie about their time in Afghanistan, then I’m disappointed by how it’s handled.  Ever notice that movies about the War in Afghanistan almost never mention 9/11?  Now why is that? The whole reason for Denmark’s involvement in the war was because America invoked Article 5, whereby if one member of NATO is in distress and calls for assistance, other members are obliged to help.  I’d say quite a few Danes who went to see this movie were wondering just what it was all about, and if that’s the case, this movie has no answers.

The old ‘should a decent man face vindication for his actions in the fog of war’ question is tired and a cowardly excuse for leftist ‘intellectualism’ given other issues surrounding this war.  Say nothing of those reserves of lithium, gold, natural gas, the warm water ports and the ‘O’ word.  So anyway, weak action, strong acting, mostly forgettable.