Sinister Screens

The War Zone (1999) ★★★½

The War Zone


When the worst of men hides in a family with no history.

An alienated teenager, saddened that he has moved away from London, must find a way to deal with a dark family secret.


This could very well be the highest rated movie that I will never watch again. The War Zone is a depressing, infuriating movie that is captured to perfection in the dreary outskirts of England. The consistent backdrop of crashing ocean waves outside this family’s isolated house no longer sound beautiful. Instead, they become ominous and foreboding as the movie progresses. It begins with a muted bicycle ride in the fog which is the happiest scene in the entire movie. So, yeah, no joy, laughter or much hope is presented through its 98-minute runtime.

The War Zone is one of Colin Farrell’s earlier movies. But the real standout performances were by the siblings played by Freddie Cunliffe and Lara Belmont. Lara’s performance mimics the heartbreak and annihilation of youth as inflicted by the menacing nature of her father. Also, most notably, this is actor Tim Roth’s directorial debut.

Yes, I applaud this movie because, unfortunately, it portrays a real family that exists out there. It showcases the harrowing experiences innocents must be subjected to in an often hopeless and pointless existence. When you have no trust or faith in those closest to you, the perception of the world must deteriorate into the kind of atmosphere displayed in this film. This movie is no doubt remarkably done, but hard to experience.

Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

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