Monday, 3 March 2014

Welcome to Sarajevo Movie Review

Welcome to Sarajevo review, trailer, photos and rating.

Director: Michael Winterbottom

UK Release Date: 21st November 1997

Running Time: 103 minutes 

Starring: Stephen Dillane, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, James Nesbitt

 If you are familiar with any of Michael Winterbottom's films then you will certainly know "Welcome to Sarajevo".  It was filmed shortly after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which saw the mass murder of many innocent civilians.  Sarajevo became a city of war where no one was safe as snipers waited on rooftops and where mortars and landmines were common place. "Welcome to Sarajevo" is based on the book written by journalist Michael Nicholson called Natasha's Story.

The film follows Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) as he reports with his cameraman, Gregg (James Nesbitt) on the atrocities in Sarajevo.  The group of journalists including American, Flynn (Woody Harrelson), risk their lives to cover the murders of innocent civilians around the besieged city.  To their frustration, their reports hardly make the news back in their respective countries leading Henderson to search for a different outlook to show what is going on.  After finding an orphanage that is keeping children safe within the city, Henderson gets more involved than what he thought he would have after formed a bond with one of the children.

Welcome to Sarajevo based on the book, Natasha's Story by Michael Nicholson. Review, rating, trailer and photos.
Dillane and Nesbitt as Henderson and Gregg in Welcome to Sarajevo

"Welcome to Sarajevo" is a hard hitting film that holds no punches in its seriousness to portray the war in the former Yugoslavia.  Entwining real footage of the siege alongside scenes filmed in Sarajevo the movie has a sense of authenticity about it that is so important in a film of this magnitude.  Winterbottom is able to really portray the horror, death and desperation of the war and the Western's ignorance of the issue choosing to make the main news headline about the divorce between Princess Anne and Mark Phillips rather than the suffering and killing of innocent people in Sarajevo. 

The cast are brilliant in the film and are able to hold together the movie to make it sincere.  Dillane does very well in the lead role as Henderson and has a good on screen relationship with Nesbitt and Harrelson.  This helps the film as it means the the story can shine through which makes the film more like a real life documentary rather than a movie.  However, it seems to tell the story in a relatively short space of time leaving its affect to come up short compared to other films that highlight genocide like "Hotel Rwanda" (2004).  

Winterbottom's "Welcome to Sarajevo" is good film telling the happy-ending story of Michael Henderson. Along the way it challenges the role of the outside world on the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is important.  If it did not do this, it would not make people think about their actions or lack of during the siege and this is a great way film and cinema can be used - to provoke emotions and ask questions.  It is a good film that will keep you gripped throughout while portraying the terrible acts that were committed during the early 1990's.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

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