In the Land of Blood and Honey Blu-ray review

Actors: Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic, Rade Serbedzija, Nikola Djuricko, Goran Jevtic
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writer: Angelina Jolie
Producers: Angelina Jolie, Graham King, Holly Goline, Simon Crane, Tim Headington
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 27, 2012

            It is no surprise to find Angelina Jolie’s writer/director debut to come in the form of a message film, and the horrible sexual crimes committed by the Serbians during the Bosnian War is as good of a subject as any. This aspect of the film would have been uncomfortable and unpleasant enough, but the odd addition of a star-crossed lover’s storyline is unbearably abysmal by the film’s close. There is enough fact within the film to retain a valuable message, despite the fact that Jolie’s storytelling disturbs me.

            Before the beginning of the war, Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) was just a simple Muslim artist and Danijel (Goran Kostic) was a Serb police officer. With the beginning of the Bosnian War, this all changed. However conveniently, Danijel turns out to be the son of a high ranking military leader in the surge against the Muslim people. This prevents him from rebelling entirely for his love, but he does all that he can to protect her just the same. At a certain point, however, she appears more of a sex slave than a lover.

            The storyline itself is rather absurd, despite being set in a backdrop of very real events. Instead of facts, we are forced to endure poor melodrama between a few insignificant characters. This has moments of success, mostly due to good acting, though the film often lacks any direction. There are also many technical errors in the construction of the film which will bother all but the most ignorant viewers, who should not be watching this film anyway. Suffering during war has been minimized to horribly explicit sequences of rape. The Blu-ray offers them all in high definition.

            The special features include a making-of featurette, and deleted scenes. The film was shot in Hungary because of the controversial views within the somewhat one-sided film. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is also a Q&A with Jolie and actress Vanessa Glodjo.


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