The War Zone

In his directorial debut, actor Tim Roth (The Legend of 1900) redefines the word “grim” in the well-made but unrelentingly gloomy and heartbreaking tale of a dysfunctional working class English family. Although veterans Ray Winstone (Nil By Mouth) and Tilda Swinton (The Beach) play Dad and Mum, the film focuses on newcomer Freddie Cunliffe as a confused 15-year-old named Tom who is convinced that dear old dad is sexually abusing his older sister, Jessie (Lara Belmont). Alexander Stuart’s adaptation of his novel is spare in dialogue but graphic in its brutal depiction of incest. This movie is nearly unbearable, but the stunning debut of Belmont in a brave, wrenching performance is something remarkable to behold. Although most viewers will be off-put by the subject matter and its explicit nature, you have to admit that, for better or worse, this film doesn’t back down from dealing with the ugliness of its theme. Roth has succeeded at making us sick at what we witness, as we well should be. Afterward, you’ll pine for something uplifting, like American Psycho. (N/R) Rating: 6

Categories: Movies