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Movie Review: No Man's Land

Story: The absurdity of war has been played out in film, ad nauseum. Apparently all of these films have no influence in real life. This film is about another war -- a not too long ago one in Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia. Remember that one? Just when we were studying the maps and learning all about Kabul and Tora Bora this film gets released and our mental maps have to shift a bit. The causes of this conflict have a very familiar ring ... ethnic cleansing, bitter tribal rivalry and anger that has been ongoing for over 900 years. Oy!

An award winner for Best Screenplay at Cannes, it was directed by Bosnian documentarian Danis Tanovic. He chooses to remain neutral between the fighting Serbs and Bosnians but rather, picks on the UN and the media as duplicitous players in this conflict. It is billed and promoted as a quasi-comedy, and there are certainly light elements, but it was not a comedy. It successfully depicts the absurdity of war when two soldiers from opposing sides get stuck in a trench together in a No Man's Land between the two sides. The film is at its best when it depicts the chaos, language barriers, red tape and silliness of the situation that eventually results in the UN and the media's arrival to film it all live. I was depressed when it was over.

Acting: Everyone was fine.

Critters: The animals had the good sense to leave this hell hole war zone.

Food: Just lots of cigarettes.

Visual Art: There is no art in a trench.

Blatant Product Placement: United States bouncing land mines.

Opening Titles: Simple.

Theater Audience: Only one other young man -- who asked me if I was a movie reviewer. I laughed. We got into a conversation both before and after the film about movies. He wants to be the next Robert Altman. I wished him well.

Predictability Level: I knew what was gong to happen but I got depressed anyway.

Oscar Worthy: Apparently Cannes worthy.

Nit Picking: Nothing.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. A very funny old film about the absurdity of conflict is The Russians Are Coming.

Length: 100 minutes