I Declare War


I Declare War

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 41


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,868
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Movie Info

Armed with nothing more than twigs, their imaginations and a simple set of rules, a group of 12-year-olds engaged in a lively game of Capture the Flag in the neighborhood woods start dangerously blurring the lines between make-believe and reality. Rocks = Grenades. Trees = Control towers. Sticks = Submachine guns. The youthful innocence of the game gradually takes on a different tone as the quest for victory pushes the boundaries of friendship. The would-be warriors get a searing glimpse of humanity's dark side as their combat scenario takes them beyond the rules of the game and into an adventure where fantasy combat clashes with the real world. (c) Drafthouse Films


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Critic Reviews for I Declare War

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (11)

Audience Reviews for I Declare War

  • Jan 03, 2016
    Honestly, this is a really cool concept for a movie. A kids' game of Capture the Flag where make-believe and reality merge where the kids weapons, made of sticks and rocks, become actual guns and grenades in their own imagination. So, really, it's a film about the importance of fostering kids' imagination and letting them be creative in their own way. But, oddly enough, it's also about how kids grow up in a violent environment, right down to the very games the play and how that fosters a mentality where they grow up to think that war is perfectly normal. It's not like the film explicitly states this, I think it lets the film play out without interjecting too much of an agenda into it, but it's something that you definitely pick up on as you see these kids pretty much behaving in ways that adults do when put in the same in, obviously, more serious situations. So the film definitely works in a number of different ways. It's also got a surprising little narrative arc when it comes to the PK, Skinner and Kwon. So I like how they explore that and PK's willingness to sacrifice his best friend in order to win the game. It does come across kind of silly, when the only way you can be killed is being throw with a balloon full of some red-like liquid resembling blood, but it does say a lot about the type of person PK might grow up to be if he goes down this path, particularly if, if his intelligence at strategy is to be any factor, he becomes a high-ranking soldier at one point. The willingness with which he is able to sacrifice those closest to him in order to win a battle is definitely not one of the positive parts of his personality. So I thought that was cool, but I think the movie does do a good job at being entertaining as well. It's a good movie, but I don't think there's really enough here to justify this as a full-length movie, it has a sort of samey feel to it, there's not a whole of thematic variety in the film, though I did really Jess' arc as the person who's been most affected by the casualties of war as she keeps seeing someone, her crush, that isn't there as he was "killed" earlier in the game. I thought that was clever and might've been some of the best stuff in the entire film. But, really, this is a movie that doesn't really come together as well as its concept might suggest. This was, honestly, better suited as a short movie as opposed to a full-length one. With that said, however, I still quite enjoyed this movie. It might not be perfect, but they do find a way to make it entertaining while also being slightly thought-provoking. This isn't Ex Machina, after all, but it does bring up some interesting questions, so I'd recommend it. It's not great, but there's some good stuff here that audiences will enjoy.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2013
    I decided to watch this movie after reading a few reviews of my RT friends praising it. This Canadian make-believe action film is written and co-directed by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson. It seems that Canadians love it, and it was understandable that it was in the Official Selection of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. But, I am not Canadian... and here is a chance to hear from someone who wasn't impressed by this "work of art". First thing you will notice is that the film has no mood - it seemed like a bunch of fantasies thrown together using meandering narrative, repetitious conceit and loose editing. I heard someone praising the acting, but to me most of the young actors were performing sub-standardly. Not that it made any difference, because the directors made the point in the first five minutes, and after that the rest felt like a fully extended bubble gum which was sticking to everyone who'll touch it - not at all a pleasant experience. I want to apologize to all the fans of this movie, but I really could not understand what all the fuss was about. I'm not writing this review because I just need to feel mean for a moment- actually the reason is completely opposite. I am trying to be as nice as possible for something which bored me, tested my patience and made me regret the wasted time spent at the front of the screen. At the end I wondered about the reason of making this movie: satire, exercise in kids screaming and swearing, or just letting kids copy adults and become deranged members of the society?! Please, help me understand!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2013
    My first film at MIFF; "I Declare War", Set purely on a group of kids playing capture the flag, Although they appear to be plaing with sticks and stones the film dipics them of what they see inside their minds using minds. It was an entertaining and heartwarming tale with thrilling action, radical tones, and an impressive execution for a first feature director. I do recomend this! ;)
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2013
    ***1/2 "I Declare War" is a ballsy movie, that I'm surprised was able to get made in today's world. I'm glad it did, it just surprises me. The movie is basically a game of capture the flag between a group of 12-13 year old kids out in the woods. They use sticks as guns, water balloons as bombs, and real world tactics to win. But, the movie is shown through their eyes as to what they see. Which is machine guns, bazooka's, blood, and death. This is very R rated, which is perfect, because it's exactly how it should be. When I was little and played stuff like this it's exactly how I saw it. When you shot your friend you saw in your mind them get shot, that's why they call it pretend. There is a lot of cussing and violence, but again this is how real teens are when they do this. I can see why a lot of people would be put off by it, or disgusted, especially with all the gun violence in schools today. But, you have to forget that when seeing this. These kids are playing a game, a game that just about every kid plays at some point. I'm glad it wasn't a PG movie where they are nicey nice with each other. Very accurate, and very entertaining. There are some good twists and turns, and the lines between what is real and pretend get blurry. But, at the end it's a fantastic film, that will remind you of what it's like to be a kid. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.
    Everett J Super Reviewer

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