Retro Review: No Man’s Land

“No Man’s Land” is a satirical drama which drops the audience right into the middle of the war between two opposing sides. Between these two war-fronts is a region known as “No Man’s Land”.

Ciki and Nino are from opposite sides, one is a Bosnian and the other is a Serb and they are stranded there together. Ciki (Branko Djuric) is a rough well seasoned soldier who has just watched his whole company executed by the Serbs.

Nino (Rene Bitorajac) is as green as a new recruit can get. Nino and his companion have been setting up “bouncing” mines in the trench when they stumble upon Ciki. Eventually these two opposing forces will have to form an alliance so that they may both leave the trench alive. Will that occur or will they kill each other?

“No Man’s Land” is a very impressive and interesting foreign film. The people depicted are so real and forthcoming. Their banters and expressions feel like we are apart of their world. None of these men are unscathed in this conflict and that part of mortality brings their desperation even closer to depicting real-life.

I loved how frank and “off-the-cuff” these men were with each other. The realism here isn’t as graphic or as intense as war films have been as of late. I believed in these guys and their struggle.

After the scene is set and the men are stranded the film focuses on what is happening around these poor lost souls. Unlike last year’s “Behind Enemy Lines”, “No Man’s Land” takes a satirical approach to the news casts and supporting soldier units.

The film also pulls in some rather delightful UN soldiers who think they can walk in and split up these two men. This almost comedic tone to the film’s second half is a welcomed relief and gives the viewer a different outlook on what is happening in Bosnia.

The contrast between the first half and second half collides with the film’s ending. This contrast is what makes “No Man’s Land” so unique. Most of the Hollywood war films of today seem to beat us over the head with realism, graphic tension and gore but these films often forget that soldiers are human and there is some comedy as well.

The only flaw I saw in the film was its beginning when it is difficult to follow who is who. When an outsider doesn’t understand a war it’s hard to get caught up in it so quickly. Until the men end up together I have no idea who is fighting for what side. Aside from that little flaw, “No Man’s Land” definitely deserved winning the 2001 Academy Award Oscar.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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