In the Land of Blood and Honey Reviews
To its credit, "In the Land of Blood and Honey" is one of the only depictions of the recent genocide in the Balkans as seen from the ground level. The movie hits the right tone that is neither mawkish or exploitative in dramatizing the horrors the rest of world was ignoring. Framing it around a romance like it is here is definitely tricky and risky in the extreme, but first time writer-director Angelina Jolie pulls it off, as these characters were until very recently able to live in peace together and it would therefore seem reasonable that Danijel would have second thoughts about his current actions.
The story is set in Sarajevo against the back drop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s and tells the story of Danijel (Goran Kostić), a soldier fighting for the Bosnian Serbs, and Ajla (Zana Marjanović), a Bosnian Muslim woman he was involved with before the war, and who is now a captive in the camp he oversees. Danijel is serving under his father, a Bosnian Serb army general, when he comes face to face with Ajla again, who is among a group of women forced to be sex slaves for the Serb soldiers... By the way, if you can imagine ANY war crime committed in ANY country by ANY army on this planet - Angelina managed to show us as a part of the Serbian War Menu! No actual historical support except hatred towards a nation on such a level that most of people watching this will conclude that Serbs must be monsters and Muslim population (or Bosnians as they called these days) have angels between them only. And somehow everyone forgets who actually profited from this war! Serbs... NO... Muslims... NO... Croatians... NO... it is a small group of reach people who were selling weapons, taking factories for few dollars from "provisional" governments on the Balkans... and after that invested them in movies like this - to make them feel good. Angelina is just a piece in a game with not much brain, that's all, and she did play her role well! Of course, Jolie explained the reason she wrote and directed the film was to rekindle attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history... In an interview she said she felt a responsibility to learn about the conflict in great detail, adding, "This was, you know, the worst genocide since World War II in Europe ... What were we all doing? And did we do enough? And why do we not speak about this enough?" Speak, Angelina, but check those facts again! Who made money out of it and why the war started! You'll be surprised by the answers... by the way the premiere after-party of this film was co-sponsored by the US foreign policy think tank Council on Foreign Relations (of which Angelina Jolie is a member) - I think I said enough!
One of the critics described this movie as "a United Nations extra-credit project about the Bosnian War" and criticized Jolie for "producing a sanctimonious vanity commercial for her own good intentions". Not sure about the "good" part though in the last sentence... she made something she wanted - and it was bad and filled up with unfulfilled aspirations and stereotypes which are dragging for over two hours. Stay away if possible!
Directorial Debut-Angelina Jolie
In the land of Blood and Honey is a meticulously, and seriously affecting , hand-crafted fictionalized historical war drama that is both intriguing and questioning. A movie that is at times hard to take in, but also at times hard to look away from. A movie that is so historicaly accurate, and it is unquestionably realilistic that you suspect that Jolie wanted us to feel every ounce of pain, and every once of heartache that was felt and it dares you not go home without a sense of emotional empathy.
Jolie didn't just direct this head turning and lip biting movie but she also partly produced it and also wrote it. Factoring in the low budget, and the low key, local actors that were obviously deeply committed to the film, and you wonder if this movie could of been any easier to make. I really believe this was an admirable attempt at making a hard to swallow movie on a(n) emotional, and such a grief strickining subject.
As I watched the film I often felt many things. I felt sadness, regret, a deep sense of hate and loathing, and even a mix of anger. 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'is truely compelling, but it is at times jaw dropping and sickingly raw. When any group of people find ways to make excuses for racism, and genocide it is ludicrous.
'In the Land of Blood and Honey' might have fell short of greatness because even though it is hair raising real, and acted with such profound compassion, it leaves many things on the table. I understood the romance and felt for the pain of two people from different backgrounds. It wasn't quite answered though what they were really feeling about each other though and the film continued without letting the audience know anymore about it.
As far as this being Jolie's directorial debut, it felt as if Jolie wrote things down and took notes. I thought I was watching a film that was filmed,cut and edited with such precison that I could of easily thought that 'Danny Boyle' directed it. Limited movies, or low budget movies aren't always bad, some might not have enough backing because of the subject matter and I fell as if 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' didn't have enough supporters because of the setting, and becuase of such a touchy plot.
Being not just a(n) Angelina Jolie fan, but a connoisseur of historical films, and stories of tragedy and war, I was more then willing to watch it. This one had a troubled romance added(Dark Blue world 90% had one that caused a rift in a father/son like relationship between two men) Even though the romance is hard to understand,the rest of the movie is understood, and easy to follow.
While most people are willing to write of movies(like a girl I know who hated wrestling/boxing movies, but changed her mind with Cinerella Man, and The Fighter,although like me, though the Wrestler 60% was overrated.) I constantly find low budget dramas, movies like Frost/Nixon 90%,Changeling 100%, A Mighty Heart 100%(Ironicly enough the last two starred Jolie), are sometimes better then bigger budget pictures such as The Dark Knight(50%) or even Red Tails(80%)which cost about 250 million to make.
'In the Land of Blood and Honey' has very graphic footage, heartbreaking scenes that disgust, intrigue, and make you think, but more importantly inform you. "In the land of Blood and Honey' is a film tah shouldn't be viewed by anyone under 17 although if parents accompany or allow children under 17 to watch it is a(n) important film that not only recreates, but demonstrates the harsh reality of hatrid, and genocide, along with the struggles of a romance between two people from different backgrounds.
the movie shouldn't be criticzed for what it get's wrong because it is very little. It should however be praised and lauded for what it gets right. It accomplishes so much and with a commited cast and crew 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' is a tense, heartwrenching, and utterly shocking drama that is as emotionaly compelling, and all too realilistic for comfort. 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' is a special film that shouldn't just be written off. It is not quite a great film, but it is very good. For a film like this, very good, is almost as good as great. That is a compliment!
I have an idea for Angelina's next movie: suffering of Afghan, Korean, Vietnam, Iraqi or even Serbian woman, children and other civilians caused by American imperial attack to these far lands. Or, to stay in a zone of their own civilian wars, suffering of Indian woman and children Americans caused for a "better tomorrow".