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Private War, A

Universal // R // February 5, 2019
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 1, 2019 | E-mail the Author



http-equiv="content-type">
A Private War Blu-ray Review


A Private War
is a true-story
drama based upon the article "Marie Colvin's Private War"
which first appeared in Vanity Fair as written by Marie Brenner.
Based upon real events, the story centers upon Marie Colvin (Rosamund
Pike), a brilliant and determined journalist working for The Sunday
Times who would traverse the world working on news stories covering
civil wars and the perils which are faced by people in situations of
war-torn strife.


Colvin finds herself
working on a story
with her collaborator Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) surrounding the
Syrian civil war and she faces down one of her most dangerous
missions to date. Working with her headstrong editor Sean Ryan (Tom
Hollander) behind the scenes, Colvin faces a situation in which all
odds are against her and yet she gives every ounce and breathe of
herself to documenting this story in all of its detail and import.


Pike again proves why she
is one of the
best actresses in motion-pictures today with her fierce independence
as an actress. She completely delves into the role with a furious
dedication. The performance is unmissable and absolutely captivating.


The screenplay was written
by Arash
Amel (Grace of Monaco) and keeps the pace of the
storytelling
tight and enthralling. The production design utilized by Sophie
Becher (Alfie, Big Nothing) is
often sparse and true to
the environmental surroundings. Costumes by Michael O'Connor (Jane
Eyre
, The Duchess) are eloquent and
befitting to these
characters and their war-torn environments.


Directed by Matthew
Heineman (City
of Ghosts
), the filmmaker makes an undeniably interesting
turn as
a director. The film marks his narrative directorial debut after a
series of documentary shorts and features. The film keeps to his
documentary style by having a filmmaking sensibility which feels
somewhat documentarian in approach: scenes ebb and flow as a
documentary would. This isn't a typical Hollywood production. The
filmmaking often feels raw with originality.


Films inspired
by true stories
can sometimes feel false or over-done.
A Private
War

avoids that pitfall and feels like a genuinely inspired story about a
woman's determination to shed a light on important issues facing our
world at large. As a story about the sincere dedication of a
journalist, this film is a love letter to news journalists the world
over for their passion and for their value to our society. Don't miss
it.


color="#222222">The
Blu-ray:




Video:


color="#222222">A
Private War
style="font-style: normal;">arrives
on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the
original 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio. This is a strong
presentation of the film which has some worthwhile merits. This
excellent quality Blu-ray release has a healthy bit-rate encoding
alongside natural film grain and good encoding. The film's
cinematography by Robert Richardson (
color="#222222">Kill
Bill
style="font-style: normal;">,
Hugo color="#222222">,
The
Aviator
style="font-style: normal;">)
looks impressive here. The natural surroundings of the environment on
display throughout the film make for a visually interesting
landscape.


Audio:


color="#222222">The
audio is presented with lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround
sound. This is a strong presentation which has good fidelity. The
dialogue-driven film still has some engaging surround sequences which
help make the experience more engaging, memorable, and thrilling. The
film's excellent score is also well reproduced with good clarity.
This might not be a total knock-out presentation but it's a highly
efficient and effective one which will satisfy audiences.


color="#222222">English
SDH subtitles are provided for the deaf and hard of hearing.




Extras:


style="font-style: normal;"> style="font-weight: normal;"> style="font-style: italic;">Becoming
Marie Colvin (HD, 3 min.) is a short behind-the-scenes
featurette
exploring the transformation for actress Rosamund Pike in playing
journalist Marie Colvin.


style="font-style: normal;"> style="font-weight: normal;"> style="font-style: italic;">Women
in the World Summit (HD, 10 min.) features a sit-down
discussion
with director Matthew Heineman and actress Rosamund Pike as the
filmmakers discuss the importance of the true-story explored in
color="#222222"> style="font-weight: normal;">A
Private War
color="#222222"> style="font-weight: normal;">and
the significance of the narrative.


style="font-weight: normal;">Requiem
for a Private War
color="#222222"> style="font-weight: normal;">
(HD, 2 min.) is a brief behind-the-scenes featurette about the song
composed for the feature.


Final Thoughts:


A
Private War
is a terrific film which is worthy of a recommendation for
the
spellbinding performance from Rosamund Pike alone. Pike delivers one
of her best performances to date (it's arguably a career best) and
she carries her role with a level of authenticity and devotion which
is impressive. The cast also includes strong supporting performances
from Jamie Dornan and Tom Hollander. Director Matthew Heineman
(City of Ghosts) knocks it out of the park with his
feature
debut after having excelled in documentaries.


The
release
features terrific picture-quality, excellent lossless audio, and a
small but notable selection of extras to make this a release well
worth recommending.


Highly Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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