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There is something of a back story, but the story is basically besides the point. Although a lot of the filming was apparently done in Croatia and the location looks vaguely Eastern European, the fictional country that much of the story takes place in is never named. On the one occasion that someone pointed to a map of the country on a wall, oddly enough it was a map of China - you can clearly see Taiwan and Hainan off the coast.
Ms. Redgrave's character is in practically every frame, and every other character is basically a cameo. Michael Moore, who gets second billing, did a competent if not particularly demanding job playing a war correspondent in a single scene lasting about 3 minutes. The only actor that comes close to being a bona fide co-star is on screen for 6-7 minustes but she is not even mentioned on the jacket. That would be Angelina Jolie, who brings remarkable emotional depth to an otherwise small role.
What runs over the character deftly played by Redgrave, are the subtle and pervasive ways selfishness, self-absorbtion, and cognitive short cuts are used by humans--typically of the well-healed classes, who possess more influence for change--as they bypass crimes carried out across the world. Ok. We've heard this before e.g., Jesus, Socrates, Ghandi, Biko, MLK, RFK, Marx and yes, even Michael Moore in his way. But Redgrave's confronting of her comission in the way things operate arrests. I suspect that few with a conscience, who look authentically at themselves, the world around, will remain unaffected. Spiritual, Economic, Political, Moral. This is revolutionary.
I don't know if a movie can change a society but it can start a new trajectory and this movie certainly makes the attempt. It's not easy, comfortable or even necessarily desirable: after all, could it be made, could I watch if, I were not using those consumables? So, I give this high marks while recognizing the trajectory diversion will be miniscule. Look at a globe, drawn a new circumfrance line .1 degree off the current equator - eventually you will cover the globe. Gradual change is never fast enough but it is inevitable.
Don't expect to be glad you saw this movie. Don't let that stop you from understanding it. It's not Ayn Rand but it's not Karl Marx, either.
The story line is an entirely different animal. It starts by expanding the context of comfort for your typical westerner by considering the banality of evil in a nearby place, not known or seen despite its relative proximity. They could have chosen those kids in, say, Africa who disassemble electronic debris from the west, or some plantation workers, but such images have already been re-presented time and again and they must be soliciting by now mild indignation at best. No, the film makers don't choose such images to show the body of the iceberg we know only by its tip and call western affluence. They go into a place where people are Christian, and white, and (civil-)war-torn. Aha, so misfortune in this life is not ethnic as much as is geo-graphic. Since this 1/2 of the story is about the nearby geographies of misfortune in places we might mistake for our own, how do the filmmakers represent them and their peoples' struggles? Oops, from the perspective of the western newspaper reader. Yup, there's nothing to show they understand the drama of these places other than the cycle whereby a bunch of deceitful cynics replace a bunch of careless cynics.
What does the character of Redgrave do?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rambling, Hard to follow. Should have expected no less from Vanessa Redgrave, a confused progressive liberalPublished 27 days ago by KArmaos
Think Vanessa Redgrave is wonderful but I did not like the movie format.Published 27 days ago by japdance
I didn't like it at all. It took all I could do to finish the movie, over a 2 day span. I kept hoping something would happen, and make it worth the time I spent watching it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by 2Bad4All
could'nt quite figure out the ending. Good actingPublished 1 month ago by Doland L. and Mary Ann Troyer
Good movie about a controversial study of the growing chasm between the first and third world. This tale is of a privileged woman whose reality suddenly suffers a profound shift. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. J. Wendt
Sorry, even though Vanessa Redgrave is the main actor I gave up about halfway through watching her struggles!Published 1 month ago by M J