War Witch (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

War Witch (2013)

War Witch (2013)

War Witch



Critic Consensus: War Witch is a mature, intense drama that embraces the bruatlity of its subject and invites the audience to sympathize with its protagonist's nightmarish circumstances.

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Movie Info

Montreal-based filmmaker Kim Nguyen paints a poignant and harrowing portrait of Komona, a 14-year-old girl (wonderfully played by nonprofessional actress Rachel Mwanza) who has been kidnapped from her African village by rebels to become a child soldier. She escapes from the camp with an older albino soldier and experiences for the very first time the joys of a peaceful and loving life, but a fresh tragedy will force her to confront and fight the ghosts haunting her mind. Although inspired by a real story that took place in Burma, Nguyen decided to film War Witch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo without giving a specific location to the plot. He worked on the film for 10 years, watching and catching children's points of view with his camera and mixing in tightly edited flashbacks in which the spirits of human beings appear with an ultra-realistic and violent storyline. But War Witch is also a poignant and impossible love story filled with magic, picturesque images, and even light moments like the powerful visit to an albino camp or the chasing of a white rooster. (c) Tribeca filmmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Kim Nguyen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 10, 2013
Box Office: $37.9k
Tribeca Film - Official Site


Alain Bastien
as Rebel Lieutenant
Ralph Prosper
as The Butcher
Mizinga Mwinga
as Great Tiger
Jean Kabuya
as School Camp Coach
Jupiter Bokondji
as Great Tiger's Sorcer...
Starlette Mathata
as Komona's Mother
Alex Herabo
as Komona's Father
Dole Malalou
as Coltan Dealer
Sephora Francoise
as Butcher's Mother
Jonathan Kombe
as Kind Policeman
Marie Dilou
as Exorcist
Gauna Gau
as Brawny Albino
Renate Wembo
as Clinic Nurse
Alexi Sabwe
as Worrying Man in Clin...
Kazadi Zadio
as Strong Man
Bonaventure Kabama
as Laughing Farmer
Angele Okito
as Laughing Farmer's Wi...
Agnes Mujinga
as Old Woman in Truck
Moise Ilunga
as Hearse Driver
Diplome Amekindra
as Great Tiger's Guard
Papa Michel
as Kid Soldier School
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for War Witch

Critic Reviews for War Witch

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (21)

It may be hard for a viewer to accept some of the paranormal goings-on in War Witch -- the ghosts, the superstitions, the otherworldly powers -- but they're nothing compared to the realities that Komona has to endure.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
Washington Post
Top Critic

Atrocity and beauty somehow co-exist in War Witch.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

War Witch gives us a continent's tragedy in a young girl's face.

Full Review… | December 17, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Nguyen brings the harshness of this world alive not with big dramatic flourishes but with an everyday tone that makes it all the more frightening. This is how it is - how else would it be?

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
Detroit News
Top Critic

Canadian writer-director Kim Nguyen spent nearly a decade researching this docudrama about child soldiers in Africa, and the film feels as authoritative as a first-hand account.

Full Review… | March 22, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A powerful and unforgettable emotional viewing experience.

Full Review… | July 15, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for War Witch

A young girl is recruited to join a child army, and when she escapes and forms a relationship with a fellow soldier, she tries to find solace in a dangerous world.
Tense and depressing almost to the point of cliche, every horrible thing that you can imagine happening to a child does without fail. Portraits of desolate and uninviting worlds are always better when the characters have a hope the audience can share (think Midnight Cowboy's "Florida" or economic security in They Shoot Horses, Don't They). These hopes don't have to be tangible or even practical, but they have to be there otherwise we're stuck in Lars von Trier-hellscape. So War Witch is just one woe after another, and while the performances were natural and strong, the plot makes the film a downer in all the wrong ways.
Overall, if you want to hate the planet for a while, watch this film.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A 12-year old girl is abducted from her African village by rebels and forced to become a child soldier; when her military commanders decide she has magical powers, she is declared the army's "war witch." A romantic subplot involving an albino magician and his quest for a white rooster briefly lightens this sad fairytale about the very real, very dark phenomenon of child military slavery.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

A sensitive drama that deserves credit for exposing a disturbing real subject without trying to be shocking or melodramatic - and it finds a perfect balance between poetical mysticism and honest dramatic power, while surprising us with a delicate and involving love story.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

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