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Witnesses (2004)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0



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User Ratings: 676

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Movie Info

Croatian filmmaker Vinko Bresan directs the political drama Svjedoci (Witnesses), based on the novel Alabaster Sheep by Jurica Pavicic about real-life war crimes committed during the Serbo-Croatian war. The film meditates on the tragedy belying conflicts that pit neighbor against neighbor - in this case, the Croatians against the Serbs in the early 1990s. The picture opens with three Croatian soldiers opting to intimidate and strong-arm a Serbian man by burning his house to the ground; instead,

Jan 1, 2005

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All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

Spanning a year beginning in the summer of 1984, The Witnesses offers the considerable satisfaction of a beautifully acted ensemble piece built on the foundation of a serious subject%u2014the dawn of the AIDS crisis%u2014handled just so.

May 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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The occasional voiceover from Béart and a slightly mournful score from Philippe Sarde offer some sense of lament, but mostly this unfolds in the moment and is urgent and engaging.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Witnesses takes us back to the turmoil in the Balkans. But the movie is not directly about the war. It's a cleverly told murder mystery.

August 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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More than a thriller, the film is a portrait of the passions that drive ordinary people to kill and even worse, to accept the killing as something honorable.

May 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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revisits Kurosawa's Rashoman structure

June 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

An engaging if somewhat inchoate drama set in the early years of Aids.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Bristling with emotional intensity, this is far superior to earlier AIDS-related dramas.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source:

A lively, timely flashback to the early days of AIDS with this character-driven drama.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Techine never lapses into morbid sentimentality and it's interesting for a film to put the horror of AIDs in the 1980s in the perspective of a viewpoint 20-odd years on.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Téchiné captures the changing attitudes of the times but some characters feel too peripheral.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Witnesses

"Witnesses" is set in a Croatian town where Josko(Kresimir Mikic), Vojo(Marinko Prga) and Baric(Bojan Navojec) have gone to bury their fallen comrade in arms. While there, they go armed to a home and are surprised to find the occupant, a Serb, is home and accidentally kill him. At the house of Mirija(Mirjana Karanovic), the mother of the dead soldier, they debate about what to do with what it is in the garage and whether to let it go. Meanwhile, Barbir(Drazen Kuhn) is investigating the crime for the police while Lidija(Alma Prica), a reporter, discovers some inconsistencies in the evidence.

"Witnesses" is an intriguing movie with much to say on the nature of identity in a war where the lines are not clearly drawn and nobody is left unscathed, not the soldiers or the ones left behind. At first the mystery is a compelling one but the movie gets tripped up by its own complex structure, following one character before rewinding and following another to slowly reveal the secrets layer by layer, that only makes events seem murkier than they really had to be.
April 29, 2010
Walter M.

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