No Man's Land

Critics Consensus

Bleak and darkly humorous, No Man's Land vividly illustrates the absurdity of war.



Reviews Counted: 98

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Average Rating: 4.1/5

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Movie Info

The grim futility of the war between Bosnia and Serbia is reduced to its essence as two enemy soldiers are forced to share a wary trust for one another in this drama. A group of Bosnian soldiers are advancing upon Serbian territory during a misty night when the fog lifts at daybreak, making them plainly visible to their enemy. Serb forces open fire upon them, and soon only Chiki (Brancko Djuric) is still alive, after diving into a trench in no man's land. Two Serbian soldiers scouting the area set up a land mine using the body of a Bosnian soldier as "bait;" if moved, the mine will jump into the air and explode. Chiki watches as the soldiers set the trap, and furious at the disrespect to his fallen comrades, he kills one of the Serbs, and takes the other, Nino (Rene Bitorajac), hostage. With both soldiers alone and equally armed, they find themselves at a stalemate, and begin trying to attract help from either side. Eventually, the two men are found by a squadron of French soldiers attached to a U.N. peacekeeping unit; now held by supposedly neutral forces, Chiki and Nino are with the French troops when it's discovered that the dead Bosnian soldier isn't dead after all, though no one is sure how to disarm the mine without killing him in the process. No Man's Land was the debut feature from Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic.

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Alain Eloy
as Pierre
Mustafa Nadarevic
as Old Serbian Soldier
Bogdan Diklic
as Serbian Officer
Djuro Utjesanovic
as Bosnian Guide
Mirza Tanovic
as Bosnian Officer
Boro Stjepanovic
as Bosnian Soldier 1
Almir Kurt
as Bosnian Soldier 2
Ratko Ristic
as Bosnian Soldier 3
Peter Sedmak
as Bosnian Soldier 4
Aleksandar Petrovic
as Bosnian Soldier 5
Danijel Smon
as Serbian Officer 2
Primoz Ranik
as Cameraman
Kany Michel Obenga
as UNPROFOR Soldier
Rok Strehovec
as UNPROFOR Soldier
Zvone Hribar
as Journalist 1
Ales Valic
as Journalist 2
Fred M. Liss
as Journalist 3
Franc Jakob
as Journalist 4
Tadej Troha
as Young Bosnian Soldier
Primoz Petrovsek
as Serbian Lieutenant at Barricade
Janez Habic
as Serbian Soldier at Barricade
Matej Bizjak
as Boy Accordionist
Marinko Prga
as Serbian Soldier 1
Darjan Gorela
as Serbian Soldier 2
Srecko Dzumber
as Serbian Soldier 3
Uros Tatomir
as Serbian Sergeant
Matej Recer
as Bosnian Officer at Barricade
Matija Bulatovic
as Bosnian Soldier at Barricade
Uros Furst
as Bosnian Soldier at Barricade
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News & Interviews for No Man's Land

Critic Reviews for No Man's Land

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (27)

Audience Reviews for No Man's Land

Two Bosnians and a Serb are trapped in a trench during the war between Bosnia and Serbia. I didn't think that this actually happened or that it could have happened; from the beginning of the film, I knew that it was a metaphor. And as metaphors go, it's pretty good. The situation is, of course, contrived, but it allows Bosnian writer/director Danis Tanovic to show the futility of war and the arguments, which are essentially identical from both sides. He waxes political when he includes the ineffective international community, suggesting that while other nations are well-intentioned, their efforts are burdened by bureaucracy. The characters are cut from bland cloth, essentially types rather than real people, but Tanovic assumes that in metaphors, we don't require nuance; he's likely right. Overall, No Man's Land is not a great film, but it succeeds in what it sets out to do.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


A terrific movie with many, many layers. The UN is ripped for its do-nothing foolishness, but equally well presented is the difficulty of peacemaking itself. Ultimately it is not the failure of the UN, but the failure of humans to let go of the past in favor of peace. Biting drama, well conceived and executed. All this, and humor, too.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


I'm pretty sure my favorite part was the random appearance of the villain from Ace Ventura 2. This is by no means a movie that I got into, but I can't deny that it's an interesting concept. It's just that some of the symbolism is way too obvious and it takes away from the overall story and message. One thing I really liked was the idea of broadening the scope ten fold about half way in. There's all this intimacy and then suddenly it's like an entire UN fleet and a news team. The Reservoir Dogs atmosphere to the initial character interaction is what I would consider weak, mainly because all I was thinking about was Reservoir Dogs.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

"Neutrality does not exist in the face of murder. Doing nothing to stop it is, in fact, choosing. It is not being neutral." Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier is becomes a living booby trap.

A clever black comedy, Danis Tanovic's film about enemies trapped in a trench during the conflict in Bosnia has a lot on its mind, primarily its intention to showcase the global political impotence towards the conflict and the insidious influence of a corrupt media--it covers a lot of bases. Tanovic doesn't have a lot of use for his characters other than as caricatures and mouthpieces (though there are some nice performances by Branko Djuric and Rene Bitorajac as two of the adversaries and Georges Siatidis as a concerned French U.N. observer) but he does infuse his script with plenty of humanity and the point of the project is to express his outrage at needless, sadistic carnage. Though the film is always predictable in its irony (especially the hardly-surprising ending) it never ceases to carry a wallop and Tanovic's blunt, angry agenda has a powerful directness that comes as a result of a persevering personal vision. Well-made.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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