Film Review: Angelina Jolie is ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ in Directorial Debut

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CHICAGO – The sorrows of war has been played out too many times in our so-called modern age. The excessively cruel Bosnian war – a three year conflict that introduced the vile term “ethnic cleansing” – is the background of Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The Bosnian War began in 1992 and in three short years displaced two million people and killed over 100,000 more. The Serbian army was especially cruel to the Muslim population, and Jolie symbolizes this by showing a split between a Serb and Muslim who were lovers before the war. The camera doesn’t blink in this film, as rape, murder and abject human atrocities are played out in a war that was useless, ideological waste of time. Jolie works from her own very literate script, exposing a horror that happened a relatively short time ago.

Danijel (Goran Kostic) and Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) are first shown enjoying a evening in a night club in Sarajevo. He is Serbian and she is Muslim, but that has not prevented their attraction to each other. An explosion rocks the scene, and the beginnings of what will be the Bosnian War has symbolically begun. Danijel is called into military service, since his father is General Nebojsa Vukojevich (Rade Serbedzija), who leads the ethnic cleansing of all religious and non-Serbian nationalities from Sarajevo.

Danijel and Ajla meet again in the midst of this action, as the troops he commands flushes out the apartment building that she and her sister Lejla (Vanesa Glodjo) reside in. The women are rounded up and subjected to intense cruelties, including the violence of rape. Ajla is spared this punishment by essentially becoming Danijel’s property. Their specious relationship somehow grows in this environment, but Ajla’s urge to escape is ever present. Loyalties, allegiances and the very notion of love is distilled and destroyed through a war torn atmosphere.

“In the Land of Blood and Honey” continues its limited release in Chicago on January 6th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Goran Kostic, Zana Marjanovic, Rade Serbedzija and Vanesa Glodjo. Written and directed by Angelina Jolie. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “In the Land of Blood and Honey”

Zana Marjanovic (Ajla) and Goran Kostic (Danijel) ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’
Zana Marjanovic (Ajla) and Goran Kostic (Danijel) ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’
Photo credit: FilmDistrict and GK Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “In the Land of Blood and Honey”

Kay's picture

This movie should get at least 4 3/4 stars!!!

This film, written and directed by Angelina Jolie, moved me deeply. I would never have given this war or its after-affects two minutes of thought if it hadn’t been for Angelina’s thoughtful rendering of the script and careful direction. The picture itself as shown above depicts the conflicting emotions of ‘Adjla’, and the dominant position of ‘Danijel’, which slowly culminates in the eroding of their humanity, and ultimately their love. Angelina’s direction is masterful, because as I watched the movie, I could see the exact moments where Adjla’s love turned to resentment over her subservient position to her supposed ‘lover’. The disappointment she felt at not being to communicate her circumstance, and I also felt his frustration over being looked at as a killer during a time of war. They were both haunted by their own allegences to their people, which was in opposition to any loyalty they might feel about the potential of their love. Thanks for a FIVE STAR FILM Angelina!!!

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