Rabu, 26 Oktober 2011

5 Days of War (2011)

Review Summary

“War is like a toothless old whore — disgusting, mainly, but every once in a while she gives it to you like nobody’s business,” chortles Dutchman (Val Kilmer), a loudmouthed roving war correspondent doing his Hemingway thing early in Renny Harlin’s “5 Days of War.” The same comparison applies to Mr. Harlin’s flaring firecracker of a film, which resurrects clichés from several decades of Hollywood war movies in its depiction of the brief fighting in 2008 between Russia and the Georgian republic. In that conflict, Russia invaded the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia in what the film implies was a sneaky attempt to snatch it back to the bosom of Russia while the rest of the world was distracted by the Beijing Olympics. The history, of course, is much more complicated and shaded than the movie begins to let on. It hews closely to Georgia’s line on the conflict, rather than Russia’s, and provides only token acknowledgment of the longstanding tensions between Georgia and the separatist northern states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In this cold war throwback, Thomas Anders (Rupert Friend), a freelance American war correspondent, and his photographer, Sebastian Ganz (Richard Coyle), risk their lives to alert the world to the goings-on in Georgia and save it from catastrophe. From a filmmaker’s perspective, a mini-war like the Russian-Georgian conflict is a godsend because it doesn’t drag on. This one is a tidy little package in which the good guys (as “5 Days of War” tells it) triumph over the evil empire in a victory for freedom. The movie is prefaced with an epigraph, ascribed to Hiram Johnson, a Republican senator from California, in 1918: “The first casualty of war is truth.” The “truth” that Anders and Ganz reveal is contained in footage of the atrocities committed by Russian troops and mercenaries during their invasion, which the correspondents shoot and store on a digital memory card. The Russians will do anything to get their hands on that card to avoid the same kind of bad P.R. that, as one Russian baddie puts it, America suffered after invading Iraq. And yes: “5 Days of War” really “gives it to you.” Whether its passion is faked or real is impossible to tell because it is expressed with such pulp-fiction gusto. — Stephen Holden

Movie Details

  • Title: 5 Days of War
  • Running Time: 113 Minutes
  • Status: Released
  • Country: United States
  • Genre: Action, Drama, Foreign

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