Welcome to Sarajevo
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Woody Harrelson (2012), Academy Award® winner Marisa Tomei (Best Supporting Actress, My Cousin Vinny, 1993) and Stephen Dillane (The Hours) team up and deliver powerhouse performances in this courageous true story.
Living on the edge amid the constant threat of attack, an offbeat band of TV journalists, led by hotshot Jimmy Flynn (Harrelson), report from a devastated war-torn country. The action intensifies when one of the journalists crosses the line and risks his life in a bold attempt to smuggle an orphaned girl to safety. Filling the screen with a jarring mix of passion and danger, Welcome to Sarajevo is a gritty, behind-the-scenes look at covering a war...head-on and on the run.
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Though the movie does not cover the origins of the conflict, and the differences between Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, it does provide the insight into the events as experienced by the foreign journalists. Sprinkled with actual documentary footage, the film is engrossing and educational.
Henderson (Dillane) is trying to stay detached from the war, and to restrict his involvement to objective reporting. This becomes increasingly difficult when he sees a local orphanage being filled with children who witnessed tragedies that would put many brave adults on Prozac and Xanax. At the same time, Winterbottom interjects his own opinion of the war by inserting actual clips of world leaders expressing displeasure at the conflict, some even denying that there are any atrocities actually going on.
I highly recommend this movie to everyone who wants to become acquainted with what the people in the middle of Europe had to live with in the late 20th century, while their neighbors turned a blind eye. I also recommend reading a short history of Bosnia prior to viewing this film, simply for a better understanding of events, and of who is doing what to whom and why. Let's hope this never happens again.
To this day people in the United States debate wether or not saving Bosnia was worth committing troops and peacekeeping troops after seeing this movie you'll be horrorified that the US and the rest of the civilized world did not do more. I'm a little biased in my feelings of the conflict my preacher was in Bosnia for a year and I know an immigrant who escaped from the terror that unfolded there. The war was a civil war fought among the states of Yugoslavia-at the fall of communism. States in Yugoslavia began declaring independance based on their ethnic nationality- Serb, Croat, and Muslim... Creating a great amount of ethnic tension that OFFICIALY erupted in 92. The Serbs began trying to reclaim land- as they claimed their land they forced evacuated Muslims and Croats from their home, as well as executed many males and sent others to forced labor camps. The state of Bosnia the stronghold of Yugoslavia's Muslim population became the center of Serb attack and it's capital Sarajevo became a city under siege.
What makes the movie powerful is many of the images/comments used in the movie is from ACTUAL footage-making haunting moments when you realize your looking at ACTUAL footage taken from a reporter who was there.
Based on the true story- the movie centers around a British reporter who ends up adopting a Bosian Muslim child- hoping to save her from the conflict and a love between them that blurs his work from his love for his daughter. For he is NOW speaking for his daughter.
The movie is a little one-sided in the fact it is clearly ANTI-SERB and the truth is no ethnic group was truly innocent in this conflict.
Welcome To Sarajevo shows the blurs between empathy, human nature, and being a witness to untolerable events. All in all "Welcome To Sarajevo" is definately a wonderful film to watch and is one with surprising emotional impact.
In 102 minutes you will experience fragment of the massive collective and personal nightmare that hit Sarajevo on the verge of the 21-st century.
Why I gave 5 stars?
It is a personal movie. It is not a movie about the war. It is story about the people caught in the war who found their hearts in the middle of the most tragic and the most horrible event in Europe since the World War II.
It is authentic. It is based on the book that describes actual events. Its portrayal of the war is real, and most of the masterfully incorporated footages of the war are authentic.
Authenticity of depiction of all characters, events and localities is excellent.
Finally, this movie should appeal to those who are not accustomed to watching "foreign" movies as well. You will see familar hollywood names Marisa Tomei and Woody Harrelson doing the great job.
For Goran Visnjic's fans - this was the movie that launched his career abroad.
I would also recommend "No Mans Land" (inner story of the Bosnian war and its absurdity), "Harrison's Flowers" (to learn more about the degree of destruction and attrocities in former Yugoslavia) and "Saving Private Ryan" (universally good depiction of what does it mean to be a real soldier in a real war).