5 Days Of War (2011)
5 Days of War is an action-packed international thriller from acclaimed director, Renny Harlin. Based on true events, this intense film is a vivid account of a renegade American journalist, his cameraman and a local woman caught behind enemy lines, and determined to not only survive, but tell the world what was happening, during the swift but devastating 5-day war between Russian and the Georgian Republic in 2008. -- (C) Anchor Bay
- R (for strong bloody war violence and atrocities, and for pervasive language)
- Drama , Action & Adventure , Special Interest
- Directed By:
- Renny Harlin
- Written By:
- Mikko Alanne , David Battle
- In Theaters:
- Aug 19, 2011 Limited
- On DVD:
- Nov 29, 2011
- Box Office:
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Critic Reviews for 5 Days Of War
Harlin's film begins with the familiar adage that truth is the first casualty of war. Usually that phrase precedes an attempt to revive the patient, not bury it deeper in the rubble of propaganda.
The plot is culled from a variety of "war is hell but I'm covering it anyway" journalist-in-the-field movies but handled with clichéd clumsiness in a script by David Battle and doctored by Finnish writer Mikko Alanne.
Flimsy dramatization of Russia/Georgia conflict fails both as historical re-enactment and as action-flick thrill ride.
As propaganda, 5 Days Of War is unlikely to make a mark, though perhaps the idea of reaching people through would-be blockbusters will.
Harlin's roots show throughout the picture, as he films real-life horrors with a bombast better suited to summer entertainment.
...an aggressively unwatchable piece of work that trivializes its searing subject matter...
Opening with the oft-quoted statement "The first casualty of war is truth," 5 Days of War should have heeded its own warning.
Harlin made a wise decision to use Checco Varese as his Director of Photography. As a veteran news cameraman, he has a wealth of experience shooting war zones which translated brilliantly to this film.
"5 Days of War" is an action-packed and tense story of a handful of ultra-heroic war correspondents who risk their lives to tell the truth.
[Presents] its protagonist journalists as ill-defined types performing heroic daring-do and the Georgian refugees taken under their wing as a plot device.
One can imagine a powerful film being made using the brief 2008 'war' as a backdrop. Unfortunately, this isn't it.
Basically 5 Days of War is a popcorn movie for people itching to hate Russians again.
Harlin manages to summarize the intensity of combat and the despair of conflict. Despite its many flaws, "5 Days of War" retains a visceral punch. A shame it doesn't have much of a brain.
Audience Reviews for 5 Days Of War
At times a little overacted and overblown, this movie wasn't too bad. This movie is definitely a propaganda film. Very, very pro-Georgia. Not to say they weren't screwed over by the Russians, but the movie got a bit too fantastical toward the end. It's good to bring to light the types of atrocities that occur to innocent citizens during wars, but there were an awful lot of "gimme a break!" moments for me. I think that alone made this movie just beyond watchable..More
As, unfortunately, is often the case with realistic-ish war movies, particularly those based on actual events, is that real life is just not all that interesting. I found myself thinking that it had run its course, then realising that there was still 40 minutes of runtime remaining. It's rare for me to ever say that a film could use some condensing, but in 5 Days of War I have found such an overly-long piece.
The events of the film, which covers the Russia-Georgia War in the 2008 Battle of Gori, are remarkably biased in favour of the Georgians, portraying them as innocent bystanders in the South Ossetian events, and Russians as bloodthirsty thieves, rapists and murderers.
Val Kilmer makes for a surprisingly pleasant addition, and primary Russian villain, Mercenary Daniil, makes for a moderate badass, but nobody else is really much of a crowd pleaser. Most saddening though is the fact that 5 Days of War just plain doesn't bring anything new to the table. I'm always keen to get behind work involving British actor Richard Coyle (Franklyn, Outpost: Black Sun, Coupling), but I'm afraid this one just has no true positive aspect. Instead, it lingers somewhere in the realm of "tolerable". It's strange for a film so laden with military action to manage feel so stagnant.
In "5 Days of War," Thomas Anders(Rupert Friend), a journalist, gets a tip from the Dutchman(Val Kilmer), a colleague, about an upcoming Russian invasion of Georgia. Bringing along his photographer, Sebastian Ganz(Richard Coyle), Anders hooks up with Rezo(Johnathon Schaech), a contact in the Georgian army who saved his bacon back in Iraq. After which, they take in a wedding which is bombarded by Russian forces and then follow that up by accompanying Tatia(Emmanuelle Chriqui) north into the path of danger in search of her missing family.
Since "5 Days of War" is based on actual events, one might think the best route would have been a documentary. After seeing the havoc that director Renny Harlin wrecks with the material by almost turning it into an action movie at times, one would have definite cause to be correct. And to no one's surprise, the rest of it is not exactly subtle. While I am on the film's side in praising the heroics of war reporters in bringing news to light, especially in a conflict like this where Putin is not as heavily criticized as he should be, I think the movie's two main points are incorrect. One, I did read about Georgia being invaded in the newspaper, so obviously people did care. Two, the United States would not get involved because it did not want to cause World War III unduly, although comparing invasions would have been provocative to say the least. Otherwise, Richard Coyle hits the right gonzo notes and there is one great scene involving Rade Serbedzija and a chessboard that summarizes everything nicely.
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