‘A War’: Oscar nominee turns on battle in Afghanistan Danish film captures moral dilemma, human drama
By Emery A. Popoloski
February 26, 2016
Author’s note: This review of the Oscar-nominated movie “A War” includes spoilers.
Recently, I had the chance to watch and review an Oscar nominated film titled “A War” written and directed by Tobias Lindholm. What really intrigued me about this film is that it is about Danish soldiers fighting in the current war in Afghanistan. Although the soldiers were not American, many of the issues faced by the Danish soldiers were similar to those faced by American soldiers. Lindholm also included veterans and Afghan refugees in the film as extended cast members.
The film centers on the company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men who are in Afghanistan. At home Pedersen’s wife, Maria (Tuva Novotny) is managing three young children, who are also affected by their father’s deployment and acting out. Pedersen and his men are ambushed, which leads Pedersen to make a split second decision, who gets to live and who dies. A moral dilemma faced by many combat veterans regardless of their nationality.
Throughout the film Lindholm successfully weaves the story of not only what Pedersen is going through, but also the stories of his family back home, the soldiers, and innocent Afghanistan civilians. Lindholm thankfully does not make any charged political statements in the film. Instead, he explores the lines between what is morally acceptable and what needs to be done to survive when in war, including the unintended consequences.
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