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A Private War Review – Inner Demons

A Private War (2018)

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Directed by: Matthew Heineman

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci, Tom Hollander

Language: English

A Private War is a biography of war correspondent Marie Colvin who was famous for visiting some of the most dangerous countries and reporting on their civil wars. Directed by Matthew Heineman, an award winning documentary filmmaker, A Private War is based on a 2012 article “Marie Colvin’s Private War” in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner. The movie showcases her fight with her inner demons and her choice of continuing reporting even when suffering from PTSD.

Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) was known for her fearless reporting from war zones in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Colvin with her famous eye patch went to places known for some of the worst human rights violations. She didn’t care for the rules or the warnings of the American soldiers to stay close to them. Marie wanted to go where no man dared; she never understood the politics but she understood the pain of the common people caught in the crossfires. She wanted the world to know about the atrocities and to care about them. Marie wanted to tell the real stories and not the filtered and sanitized versions keeping political affiliations in mind.

But A Private War is about Marie’s internal struggles. Rosamund Pike has given her best performance and has shown the human side of Marie Colvin. She has beautifully brought out the perils of her job. And I am not talking about the risks but the after effects of those risks. The wars and the reporting took a heavy toll on her. She tries to drown her feelings in sex and booze but the nightmares continue.

A Private War follows a chronological order starting with coverage of the Tamil genocide. She loses her eye in an RPG attack and starts to wear the famous pirate patch. The PTSD starts from there which keeps on building up but she wants to suffer alone. While she casually dismisses her friends who worry about her being blind in one eye, she  checks it in the mirror daily.

Rosamund Pike is at her best as Marie, constantly fighting against Sean Ryan (Tom Hollander) her editor. Both have their own agenda, Sean trying to sell the newspaper while Marie caring more about the truth and the story. Tom is good in his role and he genuinely cares about Marie but you can understand his predicament. Jamie Dornan is good as Paul Conroy, photographer for Marie, masking his sufferings behind his beard.

Matthew Heineman’s debut attempt is sincere where he is able to highlight the horrors faced by the remarkable woman. But the connect is sudden and a lot of time has been spent on the effects rather than the cause. A Private War belongs to Rosamund Pike and her performance and to the memory of the most bad-ass war reporter: Marie Colvin. Watch it and share your rating above.

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