Should the humanitarian conventions of warfare be extended to conflicts with terrorists? That is the crux of A War, Tobias Lindholm’s taut drama about a Danish company commander serving in Afghanistan. A War ties together two storylines—of the commander and his family, of domestic drama and combat drama—once the stage shifts from the armed combat of the Middle East to the verbal combat of the courtroom. Like the Danish landscape, the morality in A War is a perpetual gray zone. Occasionally the movie slips into informality, as logistics or proper procedure are bypassed. But the action, shot in handheld-camera style, is riveting, if a little intentionally disorienting. The score is minimal, consisting of ambient music.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White