Friday, February 26, 2016

A War - 1 nomination

Foreign Film - Denmark; Directed by Tobias Lindholm

"What would you if it were you" is the operative question surrounding this outstanding film from Denmark.  The film follows Claus Pederson, a leader of the Danish army stationed in Afghanistan. Claus is a true leader who boosts his soldiers' morales by going on patrol with them and leading them from the front.  At the same time, his wife is at home doing her best to care for her three kids while putting on a brave face for them, all three affected by their father's absence in different ways.

While on patrol, Claus and his troops find themselves engaged in a dangerous gun battle, and he makes the decision to call in air support so that they can evacuate a wounded soldier.  Afghani civilians are killed, and the debrief calls into question whether Claus operated under military rules of confirmation when making the decision to call in bombs from above, despite the fact that the attack stopped after those bombs were dropped.

Back in Denmark, a trial ensues in which the courts must determine if Claus should be held accountable for violating regulations, even though he clearly saved the lives of those under his command.

This film is deeply emotional and I'm very surprised it hasn't gotten more attention.  All of the actors are superb (at least three of them are from my favorite Danish show, Borgen), and the performances are outstanding across the board.  I would even suggest that the lead actor (Pilou Asbaek) should have been considered for an Actor in a Leading Role Oscar nomination.  I cried on more than one occasion watching this film, and the challenge of how to balance objective morality and military exigency is well portrayed.

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