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A Private War

One of the best films of the year, A PRIVATE WAR is a powerful true story filled with incredible performances and challenging politics.

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Die Another Day) is British journalist Marie Colvin. Hard charging and hard drinking, Colvin is a superb journalist with more concern for her story than her own well being. Marie's buried her emotions beneath an eye patch and buckets of scotch. Understandably so.

The film brilliantly sets all of its events into context against it's conclusion in the war battered rubble of Homs in Syria, building backstory and tension throughout.

Pike is amazing as Colvin. She was very good in "Gone Girl" but she's transformed here into a grizzled, immensely talented journalist with talent and heart.

Along the way, she chooses Paul Conroy as her photographer. Their relationship feels real from the beginning, with mutual respect growing in the constant pressure of death.

Conroy is played by Jamie Dornan, who starred in those crap "Fifty Shades" movies that I'll never watch, but surprised me with his talent here. He's very good, reluctant to follow Marie and terrified at every turn by what they face.

Marie's drive to be at the front-line of every conflict is legendary. Her devotion to giving voice to the most isolated and underrepresented in the conflict is admirable and heart wrenching.

Scenes of families reacting to the senseless death of their loved ones carry incredible weight, especially when the youngest children are killed and mothers & fathers crumble before us.

Tom Hollander (Gosford Park) is terrific as Sean Ryan, Stanley Tucci shines as a wealthy man fascinated by Marie and an international cast is flawless as they immerse us in conflict after conflict.

Films like "M*A*S*H" satire war. Classics like "Patton" celebrate our heroes of war.

A PRIVATE WAR forces you to look at the civilian cost and impact of battle in a way that I had not before. It's powerful and smart.

Director Matthew Heineman honed his craft as a brilliant documentary filmmaker with films like "Cartel Land" and "City of Ghosts". He brings the same weight to this true portrait of Marie.

A tribute to journalistic integrity, passion for the truth and the often hidden human cost of unending conflict, A PRIVATE WAR is a powerful drama that demands to be seen.

One of the best films I've seen in the past year, it's an A+ on every level.

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