A Private War

Though Rosamund Pike has received a Golden Globes nomination, is a film worth watching where the story devours the central character?

A Private WarA Private War, directed by Matthew Heineman, has long left the big screen for good reason. Despite the fact that it has a noble premise, you soon fight the urge to hate yourself as you are left emotionally crushed by the end of the film.

Rosamund Pike, a great actress, plays Marie Colven, a renowned war correspondent who repeatedly forced herself into dangerous encounters around the world. It began in Sri Lanka in the early 1990s where the loss of sight in one eye causes her to wear an eye patch. The film then follows her from her encounter with Muammar Al Gaddafi in Libya, the war in Iraq and to her eventual demise in Homs, Syria. (Sorry, but I’m giving away this spoiler primarily because most of you won’t bother to see the film.)

Despite the fact that Ms. Pike has long demonstrated her enormous talent in films ranging from the unfortunately overlooked Hostiles (2017) to the regrettably praised Gone Girl (2014), here she does little more than become the ultimate victim of all the wars that she covers. You are literally watching a woman hell bent on destroy herself as she uses alcohol to mask PTSD.

The movie is helped by the performance of Jamie Dornan as the photographer who accompanies her. However, the film contains one of the worst performances ever given by the recognized actor Stanley Tucci. For reasons that are completely unexplainable, he appears in brief scenes as the lover of Ms. Colven, and you can only suspect that he will choose to drink heavily before having to comment on his participation in this film.

In closing, I don’t want to dismiss the film’s meaning, as it does cover a female war correspondent whose dedication is a personal death warrant. While it would have made an interesting short film, it will likely leave you shaking your head in regret after seeing it.