Opening

39% The Other Woman Apr 25
—— Brick Mansions Apr 25
50% The Quiet Ones Apr 25
91% Locke Apr 25
76% The Machine Apr 25

Top Box Office

89% Captain America: The Winter Soldier $25.6M
50% Heaven Is for Real $22.5M
47% Rio 2 $22.2M
19% Transcendence $10.9M
9% A Haunted House 2 $8.8M
62% Draft Day $5.7M
40% Divergent $5.6M
71% Oculus $5.2M
77% Noah $5.0M
89% Bears $4.8M

Coming Soon

76% The Amazing Spider-Man 2 May 02
—— Walk Of Shame May 02
100% Neighbors May 09
—— Godzilla May 16
—— X-Men: Days of Future Past May 23

New Episodes Tonight

72% The 100: Season 1
97% The Americans: Season 2
100% Arrow: Season 2
—— Baby Daddy: Season 3
—— Hot in Cleveland: Season 5
100% Legit: Season 2
—— Melissa & Joey: Season 3
—— The Middle: Season 5
36% Mixology: Season 1
83% Modern Family: Season 5
—— The Soul Man: Season 3
—— Suburgatory: Season 3

Discuss Last Night's Shows

77% About a Boy: Season 1
—— Awkward: Season 4
—— Chicago Fire: Season 2
—— Faking It: Season 1
98% Fargo: Season 1
40% Glee: Season 5
36% Growing Up Fisher: Season 1
86% Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1
80% The Mindy Project: Season 2
56% The Originals: Season 1
100% Supernatural: Season 9

Certified Fresh TV

77% About a Boy: Season 1
97% The Americans: Season 2
82% The Blacklist: Season 1
88% Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1
98% Fargo: Season 1
98% Game of Thrones: Season 4
100% Hannibal: Season 2
86% Mad Men: Season 7
97% Orphan Black: Season 2
96% Silicon Valley: Season 1

The War Zone (1999)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 5,111

My Rating

Movie Info

Noted actor Tim Roth made his directorial debut with this powerful drama about a family in crisis. Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is an awkward and troubled 15-year-old boy whose isolation increases when his family moves from London to a remote community in the Devon countryside. Tom, his 18-year-old sister Jessie (Lara Belmont), his father (Ray Winstone), and his pregnant mother (Tilda Swinton) live in close quarters in a small cottage; they sometimes bathe in the kitchen, and they have grown used to

R,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International

Alexander Stuart

Jul 18, 2000

Lot 47

Watch It Now

Cast

ADVERTISEMENT

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (5) | DVD (9)

Gifted Brit actor Tim Roth makes a feature directing debut with this well-acted, uncompromisingly depressing drama about a working-class family torn apart by incest and abuse.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

dark and disturbing journey of family dysfunction

July 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

A truly terrifying and tragic drama.

October 10, 2005
ColeSmithey.com

Potent, depressing incest tale; excellent work by all four actors.

August 17, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

[Tim Roth] takes a great risk in confronting a sensitive subject with such brazen matter-of-factness.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Nothing less than a triumphant directorial debut for actor Tim Roth, who gets every detail just right.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

However emotionally appalling and severe, the directorial debut of Tim Roth counters its despair with quiet beauty and takes brave insights into a dysfunctional family.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A grim drama.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The War Zone

A tight knit English family moves from London to the isolated Devon countryside where the formative young son accidentally discovers that Dad is seriously violating Sis ... about the hardest look at the inner workings of dysfunctional family politics as I've ever seen. Not for everyone by any stretch. Roth's directorial premiere is eyeball scorching, gut churning stuff.
June 21, 2012
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

Prima facie, "The War Zone" comes across as a misnomer for this brutally disturbing drama directed by Tim Roth. This reviewer thought it is set against the backdrop of a war, but when the film unfolded, the underlying meaning of the title became clearer; the only war this film deals with is a personal war; a war within!

[img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-YDjGqiWudKQ/T9DayNgt3hI/AAAAAAAACsM/9fNmAN4Uy4U/s489/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-22h01m16s53.jpg[/img]

15-year old Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is the hero of this sad story. His family, consisting of 18 year old sister Jessie (Lara Belmont), Dad (Ray Winstone), and Mum (A bloated Tilda Swinton) have moved to the Devonshire countryside to live on an isolated property, leaving their London city life behind. Tom is bored and feels lonely, clearly misses London. There hardly are neighbours; the area is mostly desolate. Pregnant mum just delivers a baby amidst difficult circumstances (a car accident!) and yet the baby is born healthy. Everyone is slightly injured, but in the end it's all hunky dory and life goes on. The isolation and modest living conditions have also made these people used to casual nudity around the house. Tom is a curious teen, and he seems to have taken fancy to a neighbouring girl, Lucy (Kate Ashfeld).

The seemingly peaceful environment in the family is disrupted one day when Tom comes face to face with a shattering truth about an incestuous relationship between his Dad and sister...

[img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Sf_qYgaqY_Y/T9Damyc2mFI/AAAAAAAACrs/z2Nijejm0IA/s429/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-22h05m57s49.jpg[/img]

But haven't we seen so many other films that deal with incest? Maybe so, but what makes "The War Zone" distinct, is in its non-adherence to rendering simplistic treatment to its characters. These characters are complex, they aren't necessarily pigeon-holed to predictable traits. So then, when we witness the dynamics of these characters we are forced to ask ourselves several questions. The dad seems to be a really nice and loving father. Why then, does he develop the sick desire to sexually abuse his own daughter? Is he even aware of what he is doing? Is he aware of the gravity of his heinous act? Or is it rather casual to him; ....perhaps he himself has a history of abuse dating back to his childhood?

And then there's Jessie; she is well aware of the implications of the deeds she is involving herself in. Or is she? Maybe she is going along with it, maybe she is enjoying it. Or perhaps suffering (?) silently, because she is too afraid to bring it out in the open; maybe just too ashamed. And the mother is blissfully unaware of what is happening....will she be able to take it once she realizes?

[img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-E0ldEPbK1IM/T9Damkr7C3I/AAAAAAAACro/VHTXBez6MMU/s526/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-22h04m23s132.jpg[/img]

Which brings us to Tom, who is at the epicenter of this explosive situation. It is actually through his eyes that we see the film. You can't help but yield to a hint somewhere in the middle of the film that there's a curious voyeur inside him who wants to videotape the action. And you wish deep within that it is only to expose the sick act. But it can't be ignored that Tom is a 15 year old teen struggling with his own transition into adulthood. And call it a case of bad timing; fate is playing a cruel joke on the boy by invoking the adult inside this vulnerable teen by bringing him face to face with the most aberrant of sexual acts inside his own home! At a point of time the sister almost hits the nail on the head after a confrontation, "This isn't just about me and dad is it?" further insinuating that actually Tom wants to know about sex and himself wants to experience it!

Tom is thus, a soul torn apart. Maybe he knows the difference between right and wrong but is finding himself succumbing to a perverse temptation, given his unstable transition phase! Jessie tries to put her assumption about Tom to the test in a bizarre episode at her friend Carol's place in London; then again, perhaps her intentions are different altogether! Her eventual action further clouds any hopes the viewer may have about gaining an insight on Jessie's thought process. It is in this unpredictability of the characters that most of the success of this excellent handling of a fine screenplay by Alexander Stuart lies. Tim Roth, a fine actor of our time, proves that he can handle the director's job with an equal finesse. He clearly understands his characters' complexities and his vision of the characters' personae enables him to deliver their perfect transition to the motion picture.

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-obGxwYs1I0Y/T9DanRQynSI/AAAAAAAACr0/SeoLEUJF2Qc/s473/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-22h10m14s58.jpg[/img]

The soul is all there, but what about the body? No complaints there either; Roth captures some of the finest images of the isolated, rain-soaked country side and the rocky seashore. The feeling of desolation is further enhanced by the achingly beautiful score by Simon Boswell. The choice of actors is spot on. Winstone and Swinton are simply great in their respective roles. But special mention must be made of the actors who play the siblings, Lara Belmont and Freddie Cunliffe who had no prior acting experience but emerge winners with their effortless performances.

Do not miss Tim Roth's "The War Zone". It is a disturbing look at something as warped as incest but a patient and an open-minded viewing would ensure that instead of turning your head away in shame, you'll end up thanking yourself for subjecting yourself to this mind-numbing yet rewarding film experience.

Score: 9/10

[img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MTZK9J53Bxc/T9DayjAhH1I/AAAAAAAACsQ/MFJNvRYUVF0/s640/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-21h59m58s252.jpg[/img]
June 7, 2012
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

Accusations of incest surface in an isolated family.
This is a remarkably dark drama. The pace is slow and the mood is always heavy. While I understand that the story and subject matter fit the dreary atmosphere, I couldn't help but think that I'd rather slit my wrists than continue watching.
There is little energy behind most of the performances, which often amount to pensive, angry looks in steady shots. This is true save Ray Winstone, whose character has life and a humanity despite his depravity. The one compelling moment is in the third act when Tom finally confronts his father with his suspicions. Winstone gets to show off his talent, but the rest of the cast is left in the miasma of the film's heavy climate.
May 3, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A grim, searing depiction of incest and an overall unforgettable film which details a loving family of five and how three of them (all except the newborn baby and mother) quietly battle a troubling secret that threatens to rip them asunder. This film is paced to perfection, expertly acted, and masterfully concluded by director Tim Roth (a fantastic actor in his own right as well), and leaves absolutely nothing out. The atmosphere is appropriately dark, complementing the gray and rainy setting of the story. It does fall under "not a film for everyone" territory, it's definitely an emotionally draining experience that covers an issue only lightly touched on in cinema before. Kudos to Roth for bringing an uncompromisingly brutal and bleak story like this to the screen - it's the stroke of a genius film-maker.
June 28, 2010
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The War Zone on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Total Recall
Total Recall

Cameron Diaz's 10 Best Movies

Five Favorite Films
Five Favorite Films

Brick Mansions star RZA

WonderCon
WonderCon

175 cosplay pictures

24 Frames
24 Frames

Experiments Gone Wrong!

Summer Calendar
Summer Calendar

See the season's blockbusters

Find us on:                 
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile