A War (2015) Poster

(2015)

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8/10
Danish cinema delivers once again
bertverwoerd19 January 2016
Over the last decade, we've come to expect a lot from the Danes when it comes to making movies. This film, too, shows a lot of promise: its writer and director Tobias Lindholm also wrote the scripts for the fantastic Kapringen and the utterly haunting Jagten. Its lead actor Pilou Asbæk shined in R, Kapringen and Borgen. Does this talent show again in Krigen? Yes, it does.

It certainly does. The film excellently portrays the atrocities of warfare in Afghanistan through the eyes of company commander Pedersen (Asbæk), who is confronted with questions and decisions only soldiers have to deal with. Issues of survival, of morality, of death and life come to the fore in a film that shows nothing in war is black and white.

Why decide so-and-so? Why did such-and-such happen in this or that way? Could it have been altered? Could lives have been saved? Did I do the job I signed up for, or more, or less? The ways in which such issues haunt soldiers, their commanders, their families and even the Afghan locals, form the basis of this important film.

Lindholm refrains from falling into the pitfalls of making a typical gung-ho war film, or copying any of the thousands of battlefield depictions already produced. He produced a motion picture that will certainly stand the test of time because it is as much about the human condition on the battle- and home fronts, as it is about the fighting itself.

The cinematography is great, the sound is very decent and the plot ultimately leaves you with the same ambiguous feeling that many of the soldiers depicted will undoubtedly have. Krigen is a solid film that does not blemish the Danish film industry's good reputation, and is certainly a serious contender for this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture.
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8/10
Realism and complexity
mmaggiano10 February 2016
A War (Krigen) is a realistic drama about a Danish commander in Afghanistan, his unit, and his family back home, focusing on several key decisions that the commander must make, both in Afghanistan and back home in Denmark. Using naturalistic lighting, unobtrusive straight cuts, and a mix of stationary camera and hand-held, A War examines the moral complexities of asymmetric warfare and military justice. There are no easy answers, but there are spectacular natural performances from all of its cast. The sum total of these parts is an engrossing and seamless minimalistic movie, and another success from Tobias Lindholm. The Oscar nomination for A War is well-merited.
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8/10
War makes enemies of us all
DavidLindahl23 April 2016
It's no secret that the Danish people are making very good films. In the last four years they have been nominated for three Oscars, including this film Krigen. It is a tale of Danish troops stationed in Afghanistan, with a special focus on their commander Claus Michael and his family back home in Denmark. The Danish troops takes daily patrols to meet and speak with the locals. At the same time back in Denmark, Claus Michael wife Maria struggles with their children, especially the middle son who is in a defying period. Life in Afghanistan changes quickly when suddenly one of the soldiers gets killed and Claus Michael during a heavy fire exchange, is force to make a decision that comes with devastating consequences.

Krigen is like many other Danish films brutally realistic and dramatic. With a limited budget, they hardly had any possibilities to make a big Hollywood war film, but in some ways Krigen captures something else. With smaller environments, more focus on the soldiers mental health and the relationship between them, Krigen feels very realistic. It doesn't glamorize war or the life of war. When the soldiers lives are put on edge, you really understand that they are also victims in something they perhaps don't fully comprehend. Parallel with the war in Afghanistan, we also see Maria's life in Denmark. She is forced to fight her own kind of battle and the contrast between hers and her husbands life is very interesting.

The best and really most scaring thing about Krigen is the moral questions it asks about war and warfare. When Claus Michael is forced to make a decision to save his squad, he himself gets into deep trouble and suddenly risk prosecution back in Denmark. The country he serves and the soldiers whose lives was his duty to protect, suddenly turns more or less against him. Very interesting and a bit disturbing. I don't think the purpose of the film is entirely to be an anti war tale, but more likely to create debate. What is it like to be a soldier so far from home and can the authorities back home in Denmark really make decisions about certain things when they couldn't possibly understand what it is like to be in the middle of a war zone? I have for a long time, wanted Sweden to make this film but Denmark beat us to it. A very strong and interesting film.

David Lindahl - www.filmografen.se
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9/10
a film about tough decisions and their consequences
andychrist274 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a movie about a squad commander who makes a mistake. At least that's what his superiors say. He himself doesn't think so. Neither do his troops. But nevertheless he, a loving husband and a father of two children, is dragged to court and faces jail time if convicted. He doesn't want to lie or make excuses as he feels he has done nothing wrong...but he also doesn't want to go to jail.

It is a very confident effort by the director Tobias Lindholm from start to finish. There are no heroes and no villains, simply circumstances which force men to make snap decisions when their life is being threatened. The best movie yet done about the war in Afghanistan in my opinion. And would make it to my top 5 list of war movies overall.
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It's not just one war; it's three!
jdesando6 March 2016
A War is not just about one war in Afghanistan; it is also about a war at home in two parts. So I guess that makes three. Anyhow, director Tobias Lindholm, who scored big with his docudrama A High Jacking, repeats the illusion of reality while presenting a fully-metaphoric tale about a commander caught between saving a man under fire and endangering civilians, in this case causing the deaths of 11 Afghans.

As Lindholm depicted the tension aboard the hijacked tanker, in Afghanistan the tension is even more pronounced as bullets and mines abound with death even nearer than aboard the ship. Company Commander Pederson (Pilou Asbaek) is a decent man, whose second war is his attempt to be a father to children who have seen too little of him. Young Julius starts his own wars at school and Pederson's wife has a challenge keeping order, much less worrying about her husband in clear and present danger.

The third war, and the center of the film's drama, is his court marshal for violating International humanitarian law by murdering civilians. That he did not have PID (identification of enemy in the target) is the charge. Although it appears to be scant evidence he had PID, the director continues to show the confusion of fighting an enemy in the field and at home.

What makes this an Oscar-nominated Danish film is the non-manipulative narration, the lack of screaming at home, and the first-rate acting and directing. While the story strives to tell a linear morality tale, it ends up telling a story of not-so-clear motives and circumstances, whereby a good everyman faces implacable forces on the world stage and at home.

Although A War did not beat Son of Saul for the best foreign film of 2015, it will resonate with practically all the human race cornered by the conflicts in the Middle East.
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9/10
Dramatic film-making at some of its best
sheddenmatthew28 January 2016
Krigen (A War)

Krigen centres around Commander Klaus Michael Petersen as he serves in Afghanistan. At the same time as this his wife (Maria) and children are followed as she deals with the struggles of being a single parent as your other half is risking his life to preserve the peace thousands of miles away.

Having some time to reflect has lead me to conclude that this is one of the best and truest dramas I have seen in a long time.

A lot of this is down to the writing, Tobias Lindholm for me is one of the best dramatic writers working at the minute. It just feels so real and genuine, and the normalcy makes the situations where it's really dramatic have even more of an impact. Lindholm's directing also lends itself to this 'realism' as a lot of it is done with handhelds instead of steady cams. The performances are fantastic across the board, however I can't really point anyone out in particular, not in a negative way but more, again because of the writing. No actor gets this meaty, grandiose dialogue because in real life nobody does that, it just all feels real.

There are moments when you really feel the emotions going through the characters. Very early on - and this isn't really a spoiler - but there's a death in the regiment and one of the departed's squad mates is struggling to come to terms with this and their involvement in Afghanistan as a whole. This leads on to another point I was pleasantly surprised with, to do with the plot. There's been a lot of talk in recent years about how we're not being told about misconducts in the Afghanistan and soldiers are the bad guys but this, it never strays into that, rather depicts decisions made in the moment - decisions that none of us wouldn't do ourselves. To me anyway, I found how that was told strangely refreshing.

Also something I want to touch on is the sound, or lack of it in this case. There is very little background score which is really effective when it comes to drama and I wish more filmmakers would do this.

I'm not lying when I say that I'm struggling to find anything bad to say about this film, possibly the switching back and forth between Claus and his family may be slightly jarring for some, taking you out of it a bit, but I really don't know how that could have been fixed without taking that early character building stuff with Maria and co. out, something I'm really glad they didn't.

Looking this up on IMDb I saw that Tobias Lindolm was also the man responsible for one of my favourite foreign films 'The Hunt', which really didn't surprise me as that also was also really effective in telling a down-to-earth story. Danish cinema feels like something of a hidden gem as not a lot talk about it, yet the standard of filmmaking is so good! I don't really know if I think this is better as 'The Hunt' got me really emotional which this didn't as much, but anyway if I had to give it a score I'd say a solid 9 Danish Pastries out of 10.
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8/10
Stunning and Compelling Danish Film on the war in Afghanistan.
t-dooley-69-38691615 May 2016
Pilou Asbæk of 'A Hijacking' fame plays Claus Michael Pedersen a Commander of the Danish forces in Afghanistan. The men have to do the usual patrols and face constant threats from Afghan rebels and IED's. Then on another patrol he and his men come under heavy and sustained fire and in the fog of battle he makes a fateful decision that will have huge future ramifications.

We also have the story of his wife back home and the daily trials of trying to bring up three kids and hold a normal life together with their father away for months overseas and only having a satellite phone to stay connected.

This is a very intense film that captures the utter fear of war and the awful situations that modern warfare can land people up in. It shows this from all sides. The acting is just superb and the direction from Tobias Lindholm ('The Hunt') is very accomplished. They do have wobbly cam a few time but not the full on shaky cam that so many people dislike, but I can live with that. The translation of the sub titles is wrong in a couple of places but generally quite good. This is a film that had me on the edge of my seat, the time flew by and as such I can agree with all the plaudits and easily recommend this as a great one to see.
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8/10
No answers, Plenty of Questions
ferguson-611 February 2016
Greetings again from the darkness. Distinguishing between right and wrong has always been pretty easy for me, which probably explains my fascination when a good book or movie presents a decision weighted by moral ambiguity … especially one involving life and death. Such is the case with writer/director Tobias Lindholm's (A Hijacking, 2012) latest, which has been Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (Denmark). It's tension-filled and overflowing with moments that will make you question yourself and your beliefs.

Three parts make up the whole, and each segment brings its own pressures and is presented with its own camera technique. We see Commander Claus Pederson (Pilou Asbaek) leading his squad of Danish soldiers in their Afghan peace-keeping missions. The film bounces between these boots on the ground and Pederson's wife (Tuva Novotny) back at home in Denmark trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for their three kids. The final act is a tense courtroom drama that will undoubtedly mess with your head.

Mr. Asbaek ("Game of Thrones" and the upcoming Ben-Hur remake) is spell-binding as Commander Pederson. When a land mine causes the loss of one of his men, Pederson proves that he is no desk-jockey, but rather a leader by example. He has a calm presence that inspires his men, though his fearless approach is quietly questioned by some. His in-the-heat-of-the-moment decision with his squad under fire saves the life of an injured soldier, while also resulting in a tragedy that could affect his military career, his family life, and his freedom.

It's interesting to see how director Lindholm parallels the struggles of Mr. and Mrs. Pederson … albeit in different worlds. The personal and emotional challenges are everywhere and affect everyone. The 3 kids miss their father and struggle in their own ways with their new world. The wife misses her husband and battles to keep the kids in line. The husband misses his wife and their closeness. He also misses the little joys that come with being a (present) father. The soldiers struggle with their orders to patrol a community that doesn't seem to want them. Even the community struggles with the constant threat of danger.

Commander Pederson's fateful decision is the focus of the courtroom drama. The dilemma faced by him and his men is truly a no-win situation. His job was to protect his men while also protecting the citizens of the community. It's a judgment call in the heat of the moment. Either decision would be right and either decision would be wrong. The issue on trial is so complex that it's very likely the desired verdict would be split among those in the theatre. When Pederson's wife tells him "It's not what you did that matters. It's what you do now." We certainly understand her, but do we agree? Is it possible to judge a war crime when lives are in immediate danger? What would you do? Unless you've been in those boots, it's impossible to know. The best intentions can be eclipsed by a will to live and quest to save those for whom you are responsible. Is lying ever OK, and if so, what is the fallout? How does it impact you, those you love, and those whose respect you have earned?

This is an exceptionally well made movie with a script that constantly has us questioning our morals. while providing no easy answers.
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7/10
Much ado about... little ado
BeneCumb14 February 2016
Modern local conflicts and crisis areas have brought along a different approach in depicting military activities - confrontations without clear battle fronts, with a foreign military mission in assisting role. But as, in essence, there is a war going on, one is unable to predict every next move and incorporate all situations/events into specific legal framework; in the event of military events, there are always casualties.

Such is the background and essential point in Krigen, where the Danish Company commander Claus M. Pedersen (solidly performed by Pilou Asbæk) has to equally deal with both a severe accusation against him and his family (the characters of his spouse and three children seem to be more dynamic and interesting than those of officers and soldiers). I know that legal proceedings are not snappy, particularly among the Danes who are curbed and reticent, but still - the plot is a bit slow and arid, often uncovering the documentary aspect rather than that of a feature film, and the solution and the final scene are too plain. All this is just a narration running its course, and most of otherwise good and distinct actors have nothing profound to perform.

Krigen is not a bad film, but not at the level of e.g. Tobias Lindholm's Jagten or Submarino. For me, Krigen is a less intensive and less diverse than some related films, e.g. Stop-Loss or Brothers. Despite having an Oscar nomination, I would be surprised if it gets this award.
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7/10
Nicely done, war movie among all the other war movies.
subxerogravity16 February 2016
It's another movie that exploits Soldiers, that may sound harsh, but it's true. A War tugs at our sympathy for those who give their lives to fight for our freedom.

The movie is about Claus, a commander of a danish army unit in Afghanistan. He's a man who has to make tough command calls, calls that alter the faith of the men who are under his command and the people he came to protect. At the same time, his wife is at home trying to keep the fort held down taking care of their three children while he's on tour.

A War does have it's unique quality when Claus is put on trail for his command choices. This part slightly makes it a different story from all the rest of the support our troops messages I've seen in other recent pictures.

Otherwise, it reminds me of Hurt Locker, as the quality of production was superb, over a well orchestrated narrative.

But the movie does have the advantage of being about a hot topic, our troops.

I would definitely recommend for everyone to see A War, it is a good story about the family one leaves behind for the family he received when in the military and how though that can be on someone, and it's well done.
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9/10
Other face of war
mnalyss3 April 2016
It is a film that makes us reflect on the situation that a soldier is mentally faced in battle. When Søren says Claus "It's alright to be sad. We're all sad. It's completely alright" explicit the image they have and which ourselves help to build of soldiers as heroes, inhuman deprived of the right to sentimentalize. The oppression and hierarchy is very large in the military field and in many cases leads to suicide (the statistics are large but unknown). I recommend the film to all who are interested in discovering another face of a soldier, who is faced with issues such as the distance from family, loss and guilt. A human look underexplored so intensely in many war movies.
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8/10
Measuring One Human Life Against Another
evanston_dad13 September 2016
It's easy as an American, with our American-centric media, to think of military conflicts like those taking place in Afghanistan as essentially American conflicts. It's interesting, therefore, to see films that explore those conflicts through the perspectives of other countries fighting the same fight we are.

Documentaries and fictional films I've seen that have the war on terror as their subject, "A War" included, remind me of the films I've seen about Vietnam. A bunch of soldiers wandering around, not sure of what their assignments are or who's giving the orders, living in a constant high-key state of extreme anxiety that any moment might be the moment where they or a friend die. Whatever the conflict's origin, the purpose seems to gradually be obscured by the sheer monotony and bureaucratic confusion of the whole thing, important decisions being made by men in offices miles away from where the actual fighting is taking place.

"A War" establishes this environment, and then asks us as viewers how well we would do at making critical decisions if we were in the same situation. The commander at the film's focus is put on trial, and from a purely legal standpoint should probably have been found guilty. He certainly lies in an attempt to gain an acquittal. But I for one didn't want him to be found guilty and didn't blame him for lying or a member of his unit for lying for him. The film asks of us what wars since the beginning of time have been asking of those who are forced to fight them: measure the value of one human life against that of another. It's an impossible position to be put in, one that has no good outcome, and one that is destined to haunt the person who has to make the decision for the rest of his life, no matter what he ultimately decides.

"A War" brought Denmark an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Oscars.

Grade: A-
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7/10
A single aspect account, the other side remains mystery.
Reno-Rangan14 February 2016
The movie that representing Denmark at the 88th American Academy Awards. To be honest, it was not as overwhelming as I anticipated or heard of it, especially after witnessing an outstanding sea piracy drama 'A Hijacking' from the same director. But for the todays scenario, any war movie with a fine production quality and a decent storyline is a hot topic. For instance, how a small movie like 'Kajaki' made a big impact among the movie fans.

The main cast and crew combo returned from the previous film. It was a simple story told in three phases. The first two are narrated parallely between a husband fighting a war in Afghanistan and his wife taking care of their children back at home. The third part was the crucial one, the meeting point of the previous two, that mean all the earlier development leads to this final and probably the best setup for the tale to conclude.

It was a realistic portrayal, and obviously coped with a slow pace rendering. But the timeline, especially skipping almost 6 months between the two halves of the movie ruined the rhythm of the steady narration. Actually, that is the story and it has to be done that way without other option. Regarding the story, it is difficult for the viewers come to any conclusion about what they see. Definitely it was not a complicated storytelling, but the entire film was a single perspective narration and you can't know what happened on the other side.

"You can't imagine, what it means to be out there."

You might think I said lots of negative about the movie, but the fact is I liked it and still I felt it should have been a lot better than that. You are not me, so you might like it better than me. The movie topic was very serious, that talks about a war crime and the rest is a courtroom drama. The first half was clueless about what the movie is about, so you can't make any prediction. More like a composition of the unimportant events until the army unit's first encounter with their enemy.

What comes after was really a good stuff, increases our expectation on how it's going to end and again that part was very ordinary. It's okay to be simple because this screenplay was not aimed for commercial or the entertainment gain than being natural to the real world. The moral of the story is the highlight, but people who watched this film forget that and bring up points why they did not like it as I brought a couple in the early.

All scenes were well shot and the actors performed so good. I also heard that the soldiers were real army men who fought in the real battleground where this movie sets in. So the director had the experienced men around to guide to make a flawless war-drama and in the end it all payed off well after entering the final stage of the Oscars race. That's what any filmmaker in the world would have wanted, an international recognition for his hard work.

7/10
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7/10
Solid war film.
Rendanlovell17 June 2016
Have you ever thought about all the no win scenarios that soldiers in Afghanistan are put through on a near daily basis? No? Well this film is all about those. It is told through the perspective of one commander of a danish patrol. For the first hour of the film we watch their daily activities unfold. Like patrolling near by areas or associating with locals. Right off the bat we are introduced into the harshness of this war. With the opening scene we see a young man step on a buried land mine. With in minutes he loses his life and we get to see how this affects all the men around him. It's a jarring way to introduce us into this world.

It's unfortunate that the rest of the film isn't this impactful. After this we follow the men for another hour or so and nothing like that first scene happens again. In fact it almost forgets that it ever happened with in ten or so minutes. I'm not asking that the entire film be a nonstop, disturbing, in your face action film.

But I would have liked to see the film maintain any kind of consistency. It shows quickly how uneasy just walking around can be but this sense of unrest almost immediately wears off. It proceeds to become a regular old war movie just like any other we have seen. It made sitting through the first half almost a chore.

There where a couple of great scenes thrown in there but it was mostly predictable and uneven. The best parts of the movie happen in it's latter half. Where our commander is being put on trial after ordering an airstrike on a Taliban soldiers. Come to find out, there weren't just Taliban in there. No, women and children where also among the dead.

Once this information is discovered he is accused of not following protocol which lead to their deaths. This is where the film really blossoms. It is able to show that war isn't just fought out there. But soldiers often have to fight in court rooms where they can potentially go to prison for a simple lapse in judgment.

It really is able to put into prospective how harsh war can be. Not just on the battlefield but after you get home. This is all captured extremely well by the films lead actors. Who do an outstanding job of showing the toll that this is all taking on them. One thing that is apparent that helped with their performances was the attention to detail.

The films costume and production design is incredibly well conceived and convincing. Not only does this help the audience believe in what is happening but it helps every one on set. When you can see and interact with a real set or real costumes it can help push the film further into a sense of realism.

Not only that but the dialogue between the soldiers is incredibly well researched. All of this is so good in fact that it feels more like a documentary than a drama. But this is also where one of main complainants comes into play. The film is shot to give the illusion that it is a documentary.

This can be incredibly distracting. The majority of the shots are hand held and very shaky. Even when the film progresses into it's court room setting. If this was shot like an actual film instead of like a documentary near the end I would not be talking about this. But when you can't really see the main subject because the camera is moving so much it's hard not to get frustrated. Especially when the scene is in court room.

We don't need this. It's nothing more than extremely distracting and obnoxious. That being said the film as a whole is solid. It shows the cost of being a soldier on and off the battlefield. And that one misstep can lead to serious punishment. It's very well performed and it's attention to detail is astonishing but some presentation issues and a very clumsy first half don't do 'A War' any favors.
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7/10
A Danish drama war story.
-A War (Danish: Krigen) is a 2015 Danish war drama film written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, and starring Pilou Asbæk and Søren Malling. It tells the story of a Danish military company in Afghanistan that is fighting the Taliban while trying to protect the civilians, and how the commander is accused of having committed a war crime. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.

--Production: -The film was produced by Nordisk Film with support from DR TV and received eight million Danish kroner from the Danish Film Institute. Filming took place in Copenhagen, in Konya, Turkey and in Almeria, Spain. It ended in January 2015. With the exception of the main characters, the soldiers are played by actual Danish soldiers who had served in Afghanistan.

--Reception: -A War received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 90% "Certified Fresh" score based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site's consensus states: "Tense, intelligent, and refreshingly low-key, A War is part frontline thriller, part courtroom drama -- and eminently effective in both regards." Metacritic reports an 81 out of 100 rating based on 29 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Olly Richards from Empire magazine gave the film four out of five stars saying "It's a riveting, complex film that asks one simple question: what do you do when there's no right answer?"., while Clayton Dillard from Slant Magazine gave it a mixed review: two out of four stars saying "Tobias Lindholm stages his claims through cluncky dramaturgical scenarios, with the seams exposed at every turn."
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6/10
compelling action on the ground
SnoopyStyle14 June 2017
Claus M. Pedersen leads his Danish troops in Afghanistan. Back at home, his wife struggles to raise their three children by herself. Claus helps treat a village girl and her family becomes a target for the Taliban. Claus' men get pinned down and he calls in an airstrike. He is charged for the deaths of eleven civilians.

The action on the ground feels documentary-real. Everything else feels less compelling. The court proceedings lack tension. It's pretty straight forward with a non-surprise twist. The court case needs something special. It's too reserved to be exceptional. It tries to state the complexity of war but it doesn't have the complexity of storytelling.
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A Quest For The Right Decision In A Scenario That's Possibly Without One.
CinemaClown9 March 2016
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at 88th Academy Awards, A War (also known as Krigen) is a competently crafted tale that may give the impression of a war drama at first but in actuality is a contemplation of the trail of blood that even a slight mistake in the battlefield can leave behind & follows a two-segment structure that slowly merge into one.

A War tells the story of the commander of a Danish military company who is stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile, his family back home is struggling to cope with his absence. Things are set in motion when his soldiers are caught in a heavy crossfire while on a routine patrol during which he makes a judgment call that results in terrible consequences for him, his family & the very people they were trying to protect.

Written & directed by Tobias Lindholm, A War commences on an instantly gripping note and nearly every moment set in Afghanistan is effortlessly compelling. Lindholm's direction is brilliant for he shows the events as they unfold but later puts the viewers in the jury seat and asks them few difficult questions about right & wrong by revealing the carnage left behind by an earlier decision that looked reasonable before.

The relevant characters do exhibit interesting arcs, the two concurrently occurring segments are in proper sync for the most part, and the locations & set pieces manage to give it an authentic look n feel. Camera-work is expertly carried out, especially during the moments of combat. Editing is a bit slow in the second half. But the actors remain thoroughly committed in their given roles and deliver sincere performances that carry no complaints.

On an overall scale, A War is effective in bits n pieces but there are also times when it falls flat. The film skilfully captures the difficulty in properly assessing the surroundings when life is hanging by a thread but also questions the validity of the final choice made and who's to be blamed should it result in an unintended tragedy. While the story smartly exhibits the struggles of its characters, this Danish drama is simply a quest for the right decision in a scenario that's without such an option. Worth a shot.
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9/10
Going in unexpected direction in the second hour (no spoilers!)
paul-allaer27 February 2016
"A War" (2015 release from Denmark; 115 min.) brings the story of Claus and Maria, a couple from Denmark. As the movie opens, we get to know Claus, a Commanding Officer of a unit in Afghanistan. One of the guys in the patrol unit walk onto a mine and is killed. The unit is devastated and Claus tries to keep the poise and focus, but it's hard. Meanwhile, we get to know Maria, who is taking care of the couple's three young kids, including Julius, a 6 or 7 year old boy who is having behavior issues at school and with his sisters, all because Dad is missing. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, nut to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest film from writer-director Tobias Lindholm, best known for his 2012 (and equally stellar) film "A Hijacking". The first half of the movie plays out as a 'traditional' family drama within a war context: dad is doing all he can to stay focused at the job at hand (war), while mom is struggling to keep the family together. I thought that the depiction of the conflict in Afghanistan was done very realistically and with the proper taste and respect. But then just as you think it stays within that framework, the movie takes a new direction shortly in the second half, and all I will say it that it made the movie even better for it. Pilou Asbæk (as Claus)and Tuva Novotny (as Maria) both give outstanding performances. This movie got an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Movie (I believe "A Hijacking was nominated too), and with that, I've now see 4 out of the 5 Oscar nominees in that category. I still think "Son of Saul" is the odds-on likely winner, but I certainly wouldn't be upset if "A War" comes away with the Oscar.

"A War" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturday matinée screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great, and that is a darn shame. Perhaps people are fatigued watching films about the Iraqi and Afghan wars. Even with that, I found "A War" to be an outstanding film that deserves a larger audience, do if you have a chance to see this, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on Blu-ray/DVD, please give this a chance. "A War" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5/10
A war film with depth rather than excitement
Leofwine_draca17 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A WAR is a Danish war drama exploring the relationships between men on the battlefield and the consequences of high-intensity combat. It boasts a starring role for the engaging actor Pilou Asbaek, best known to international audiences for his roles in A HIJACKING and GAME OF THRONES. The film begins with the usual Afghan conflict scenes that will be familiar to anyone who's ever seen a Middle Eastern-set war film or watched the news for the last two decades. Two thirds of the way in it turns into a courtroom drama. It's not the most exciting of films I've watched, being glacially-paced for most of the time, but it does have depth and important things to say about the nature of international law and the effect of war on the minds of ordinary men.
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6/10
A Relatively Feeble War
DareDevilKid23 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK)

Rating: 2/5 stars

Director/writer Tobias Lindholm's Danish war drama Krigen, which translates to simply "A War" in English, is completely devoid of staple war movie tropes of heroism, machismo, and intrepid sacrifice. While this method of presentation could have been a refreshingly welcome take on the war genre, it unfortunately stalls the film's narrative severely because of the fact that the movie's also devoid of any semblance of narrative conflict, intense drama, or any other absorbing qualities for that matter. If anything, Lindholm is quite content at steering the film into lackadaisical territory for most of its duration; a far cry for his erstwhile superior endeavors like "The Hunt" and "A Hijacking".

"A War" alternates between the Afghan deserts and a courtroom in Denmark, and in the absence of any real depth in-between, the only moments that create moderate impact are the pauses taken by the film's main protagonist, troop commander Claus Michael Pedersen (Pilou Asbaek) – from guiding his regiment on their protective duties – to converse with his wife, who's managing the household affairs and three pesky kids back in Denmark. Denmark's overseas military obligations, tactical modus-operandi, and more pertinent issues related to the troops have been better highlighted in some of their TV shows and documentaries.

Lindholm, instead chooses to focus on personal moral dilemmas, which wouldn't have been a bad thing had it been handled with more care and vision. When Clause order a civilian compound to be attacked after his battalion suffers an enemy bombardment, he's ordered home for a court hearing. Our hero, now, has to choose between incarceration for his actions or lying about them outright to save his honor, position, and remain with his family.

Though this final act manages to lend some sort of emotional heft and compelling dram to the proceedings, it, unfortunately, comes too late, and by this time, you'd have lost all interest in Clause's dilemmas, actions, repercussions, or anything else for that matter. I wouldn't go so far as to call "A War" a poorly made film, it's just a dull effort that has a few redeeming qualities.

Surprisingly, "A War", has snagged an Oscar nominee this year in the Foreign Language Film category. Perhaps, the Academy jury saw something I couldn't, or, maybe, this is another in their long history of missteps. Either way, I'd wager that the other four nominees aren't going to be overly perturbed about competition from Lindholm's film.
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Brilliant.
baseliner-8174315 April 2019
What a fine film. It's free of histrionics and bombast and is miles away (thankfully) from the tripe Hollywood would dish up. It's a thoughtful, realistic and power-packed film that lays it all out - the complexity of fighting a war in which there are no easy answers and in which every option has huge and life-threatening risks attached to them. A fine cast carries it off with aplomb. At end I was thinking this is one of the best war films I have seen - it sure is. Enjoy.
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10/10
Powerful film
u-emoli25 November 2018
This is a gorgeous powerful yet simple film. Well written, acted and directed. I wish all recent us movie makers could learn from this.
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8/10
Breaking down the conflict between decency and truth
jasonam21 August 2018
When a choice made on the battlefield haunts a Danish commander, the consequences extend to those around him. Carried by a powerhouse performance from Pilou Asbæk, "Krigen" is a human fable that delicately balances moments of quiet contemplation with sharp, wrenching emotion. The script is particularly strong and fully rounded out through Tobias Lindholm's realist direction.
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8/10
Follow the War.
morrison-dylan-fan22 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Finishing the 2nd (and final) season of the Nordic Noir show Follow The Money, (one of my top 10 TV programs of all time)I took a look at series director Tobias Lindholm,and was amazed to find that along with directing each ep of FTM,Lindholm had also made the tense Drama A Hijacking,and had written the gripping 2012 film The Hunt. Reading about the title on ICM,I was pleased to see the second of Lindholm's "A" films appear on the BBC,which led to me joining a war...

View on the film:

Reuniting with A Highjacking's lead actor, and cinematographer Magnus Nordenhof Jønck,writer/director Tobias Lindholm continues expanding on the visual themes of Highjacking, as the camera/viewer is held in a separate room during Claus conversations with his wife Maria, allowing the audience to only see the convos in closed windows. Wiping the gloss of Follow The Money away, Lindholm steps onto the war path covered in an atmospheric sand tint. Holding back from going all out with the typical shaky cam of modern war flicks,Lindholm instead continues exploring the worn-down feeling of people in difficult situations,as Lindholm closes in on the drained faces of Claus and his men.

Joining Claus and his troop in the middle of their tour in Afghanistan, the screenplay by Lindholm picks up on the grinding experience each faces,with Claus following everything by the well-worn book,even on hearing warnings that people could soon be killed. Leaving the battlefield for the courthouse in the second half, Lindholm explores a "war crime" that does not give a verdict to the viewer, with Lindholm focusing on questions rather than answers on Claus (played by a superb Pilou Asbæk) decisions in the heat of the moment to save the lives of his fellow soldiers,and the complexities the soldiers face over if they should reveal what happens in a war.
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5/10
A War
jboothmillard4 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I probably would never have heard about this Danish film if it weren't for its inclusion in the nominations at the Oscars, I was hoping it would be a good one. Basically company commander Claus Michael Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Meanwhile back in Denmark, Claus' wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together, with a husband at war and three children missing their father. The soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire during a routine mission, without proper Intel, Claus makes the decision to call in an airstrike to save his men. Claus is sent back home following this mission, and charged foe killing eleven men by the airstrike, the grave consequences of these accusations cause him and his family to be shaken. Claus explains in court that this decision was a critical requirement while they were under attack, one of the men defending Claus gives a false statement, meaning he is acquitted by the judge and co-committee based on the evidence, Claus is allowed to stay with his wife and kids. Also starring Søren Malling as Martin R. Olsen, Dar Salim as Najib Bisma, Charlotte Munck as Lisbeth Danning, Dulfi Al-Jabouri as Lutfi "Lasse" Hassan and Alex Høgh Andersen as Anders. It is a simple story of a military troop fighting the Taliban and protecting civilians, and the commander accused of committing a war crime, I will be honest and say that having to read subtitles at the same time as the action, I lost my way a few times, but overall I know it was an interesting enough war drama. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Worth watching, in my opinion!
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