Angelina's War Movie: Hollywood Goes to Bosnia in The Land of Blood and Honey

It's 1992, and Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) and Danijel (Goran Kostic) are about to hook up in a Bosnian nightclub when they're interrupted by a bomb blast. Later, Ajla is one of dozens of women rounded up and bused to a detention camp where Muslim females are kept to satisfy Serbian male soldiers' apparently endless appetite for rape. Danijel is a commander at the camp and "protects" Ajla by not letting anyone else rape her. After she lets him fuck her in laughably stylized soft-focus, he shows her how to escape. Later, at a different camp, she allows herself to be kept as his "Muslim whore." First-time director Angelina Jolie clearly aims to keep Ajla's allegiances ambiguous and spends much screen time trying to humanize Danijel to the point that we might believe Ajla could love him or that he could change. The denouement that sorts it all out moves from predictable tragedy to ludicrous redemption; closing titles confirm that the motivating intent in making In the Land of Blood and Honey was activist rather than artistic. Jolie has constructed a persona as the anti-movie star, but in making a United Nations extra-credit project about the Bosnian War that pointedly criticizes the U.S. role in a conflict now safely in history's rearview mirror, she has produced a sanctimonious vanity commercial for her own good intentions. That's about as Hollywood as it gets.

 
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33 comments
Xw6265
Xw6265

Read the Variety Review and you will learn how to write a review.

Canuckman
Canuckman

This review is actually quite bang on and brilliant, This film is little more than a simplistic Bosnian-focused propaganda piece. Karina is a genius in seeing through it as more "activist than artistic..." That then becomes the essence of advocacy and by extension slips into propaganda.

Yes it could have been much more if Jolie had also focused, even a wee bit, on the horrid war crimes committed by the Bosnians and Croats on their Serb neighbors. The Croats raped and murdered with the best of them in that war. That context would have provided much more historical perspective to what was actually a complex civil war.

For the reader not familiar with these wars, this is not World War II Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Not even close.

With such lack of historical depth and context, it's little surprise to me that the Academy has entirely ignored his work.

Betty Blair
Betty Blair

Why on earth would you say that this conflict is "safely in history's rearview mirror"? Are you mentally insane? Are you not paying any attention to the anger that still exists among the people of this region? How could you make such an ignorant comment?

You are an idiot
You are an idiot

What an ignorant cunt you are, Karina. Would you be saying the same about the Nazis? And, yes, I'm bringing them up because what the Serb Chetniks (a TERRORIST group, you moron) did to Bosnian, Croatian, and even their own people was seen in Europe only during WWII. Just because you're an idiotic cow unaware of the pain the peple of the Balkans (particularly Muslims) experienced does not mean you can make fun of it. Criticize Jolie's skills all you want, but not the people of the Balkans. Stupid bitch, I can't believe you get paid of this.

And to whoever called her the female Armond White... don't kid yourself. White is far too aware of what's around him, that's why he's so good at his trolling. She's just a cuntastic imbecile.

Sam580
Sam580

I thought this review said it all clearly.

Melissa Sullivan
Melissa Sullivan

This "critic" is a friend of JA. Just researched it. Really, a 10 out of 100. More like the village idiot.

Latereader
Latereader

The critic left his intelligence at the door, along with his objectivity.This review is drivel.

North American Zene Zrtve Rata
North American Zene Zrtve Rata

Firstly, I would like to inform you that our organization, "Zene Zrtve Rata" and equally; all women of rape whom went through the scariest, unthinkable things during this war(Genocide against Bosnian people) do not get anything(donot gain profit) from the world supporting us, whilst Angelina Jolie has filmed a movie with UNTRUTH's and not our TRUTH. Angelina Jolie, instead of bringin this tragedy to light, not only as an artist yet on another plateau, after all she is a woman for God's sake. The story which NEVER took place on the grounds of Bosnia and Hercegovina is very demeaning to us in the manner which she has shown it. No even a pathologically sick person in a concentration camp could fall in love, in the manner Angelina Jolie has depicted. In fact, the "UNTOLD LOVE STORY" now known as "In the Land of Blood and Honey" AJ has tried to show the world untruths, that someone fell in love with her captor and someone whom is creating all her suffering? Love in captivity is only for your closest and dearest, mother, children, sister, brother and not for a captor.

WE raised our voice then and areraising our voice again and are sending in this manner, in our name, ZENE ZRTVE RATA (Women Victim's of WAR), without ethnic borders, our voice against crimes specifically systematic rape against Bosnian women which Karadzic and Mladic put women through! That is what Angelina Jolie should have filmed, but OUR TRUTH does not sell films!

Our witnessing, face to face at the International Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), courts all over the world and the Court of Bosnia and Hercegovina is a historic witnessing of that time of what truely transpired. Innnocent people were victims' in this land, blood ran throughthis land, which was never a land of honey! Genocide occured and the world should never forget this as we have not.Someone, whom is not from Bosnia and Hercegovina, can EVER TRANSLATE and PLAY with the history of this country, nor with her now or tomorrow. Many feel they can, but above them are even stronger and more powerful forces. This attempt of Angelina Jolie's to bring down our truth to a level of a love story with those whom are GUILTY in this war is shameful.The tragedy of this country and it's people she is creating a party. Shameful! With her film, she is insulting every innocent vitim, falsifying history, truely falsifying, untruthfully creating a picture of Bosnia and Hercegovina in the world. It is a defamation of the character of it's people and the country itself. Why is she doing this and in the name of what? Only she knows the answer to that. It is irrelevant whom, Angelina nor others of the like, WE will raise our voice against this and anything else FALSE that coems our way. Ittelevant of the shame we lived through, how much we lost to these criminals whom committed crime's against humanity. We women are proud and against these types of attempts at our psyche, our city, our country and us.

With respect, Bakira Hasecic, President Zene Zrtve Rata (this organization is for rape victims and against the aggressors causing rapes and the Geonocide in Bosnia and Hercegovina)

Sakara
Sakara

JOLIE IS TOO ADDICTED TO SMACK IN ORDER TO WRITE OR DIRECT?

and she's also been accussed of plagerism.

hey, all you occupy wall street protesters who wasted money on college film courses---a no talent celeb will always have a better chance directing a movie than a nobody with talent

Alicia Hawck
Alicia Hawck

"safely in history's rear view mirror" "apparently endless appetite for rape"?!?!?! Your superficial and ignorant response is *exactly* why this film needed to be made--go to Bosnia and see the remnants of the devastation that's so "safely" in history (which is like saying the genocide and conflict of the holocaust leaves no scars today and that happened 50 years ago as opposed to Bosnia in the 90s). Unfortunately, you get paid to be an idiot who, in a pitiful attempt to sound somewhat intelligent and deserving of this job as a film critic, gets her disgusting kicks from attacking serious issues addressed in the film, that still affect millions of people in the world today and exactly why atrocities against humanity are dismissed by the international community. Even if this was a "vanity project", at least the "good intentions" in showing viewers of the suffering that still occurs because of conflict will remind us that this still happens--go to the Congo. And are you a teenager? "Hook up??" Your use of language discredits your abilities as a serious person and your simple outlook of the world is tiresome. Go entertain yourself with Twilight--that's definitely more to your palate.

giggo
giggo

this should be a review?i hope they dont pay you for your work...i am glad that Jolie made a movie about Bosnia thats not done in Hollywood war style movies about Balkan wars. Many of those actors in movie actually felt that war on their skin and war changes ppl, in so many ways that if you never lived through war for real, you cant understand it.And this is a movie about the change in ppl not bombs and explosions. Maybe the movie is not a Oscar masterpiece, but its pretty well done and doesnt deserve the crappy reviews like yours.

BB
BB

Karina, quit being an ignorant bitch. You're the fucking female Armond White.

B_Star
B_Star

"A sanctimonious vanity commercial?" Clearly, you have preconceived notions about the director thereby making you as a critic and your critique questionable.

J_D
J_D

Great review. We don't need a Hollywood celebrity to teach us about politics.The goal of this film to bring an awareness falls flat as it becomes Jolie's vanity project.Missguided portrayal of love makes me question her experiences as a woman.Sometimes it's best to stick to your homeland and let others express themselves.Perhaps, Miss Jolie, film about our people?

guest
guest

What a crass, biased, ignorant "review". With an attitude like that you don't deserve the free tickets to advance screenings. Disgusting.

Jesus
Jesus

Oh get off of it, you Chetnik apologizer. Jfc, how the world is not rid of you and those propagnda lovers like you... I'll never understand. You are disgusting beings.

DMacaoidhSelim
DMacaoidhSelim

@Betty Blair She means "Western" history, which is the only kind that counts to her, apparently.

Truthful
Truthful

Having a little trouble posting from my i phone obviously, lol. Third one down is actually my first post in response to "you are an idiot's " post, and the two following this very one are a continuation of my response. I apoligize in advance for my posting illiteracy /:(

Truthful
Truthful

In the 90's. They have been kidnapping serbs and selling their organs for the past 10 yrs it was all over the international news ( for a hot minute) and people like you still choose to ignore it. I can go on and on but I am sure it will not make a difference . I would truly like to say to all the women of every ethnicity be it muslim, serb, croatian, albanian

Truthful
Truthful

Stop comparing the serbs to nazi's. I am a serbian women and people need to get ALL their facts straight. "Your An Idiot", ( you posted under this alias) now I can go on & on about many ottracities that were committed against the serbs by croats, nazis( I actually have a family that was killed by the nazis trying to protect shcool children from getting shot to death, to no avail), muslims, albanians etc.... . My coworkers sister was in a camp in croatia for two yrs (they have pics of her there with her hair shaved off, & and she is serbian)

Nerk
Nerk

Because you're not from there and you are an idiot as well.

DMacaoidhSelim
DMacaoidhSelim

@Sarajevo84 Supposedly disproven in 2013. If anyone wants to see the website, plug in the above address on the Wayback Machine, web.archive.org. It was taken down because the lawsuit is over and the claims from the author of The Soul Shattering were found to have no merit, & the screenplay for In the Land of Blood and Honey found to be not plagiarism. 

I have no idea if that's true--that's just what the court decided. 

Betty Blair
Betty Blair

The female rape victim does not fall in love with her captor in this film. I'm not sure why people are saying this. The film is not a love story at all but a story about a woman trying to survive in the rape camp. (SPOILER: She later returns as a spy and orchestrates the killing of Serb soldiers and attempts to kill the male main character.) She's hardly in love with him, and I don't see how anyone who has see the film could say that it's a "love story."

Brkoni
Brkoni

Gospodjo Bakira ne slazem se s Vama. I sam sam sudjelovao u tom ratu (HV). Zvjerstva su cinjena sa svih strana. Ne mozete optuziti samo jednu.Osim toga to je je film, a ne stvarnos. Pozdrav Mrs. Bakira, I do not agree with your opinion. I participated in that conflict (on Croatian side). All 3 parties committed war crimes, so you can't accuse only one side. And by the way this is only a fiction. Greetings

Turk
Turk

Mrs. Jolie appeared on Charlie Rose just days ago, however, his rather uncomfortable introduction of her was enough to switch stations even while completely aware of the nature of the project she was there to promote, nevermind the hollywood-pet-cause element in tow.

... but the thing is, Bakira:

The movie is getting people (such as yourself or I albeit in our case across the ever immaterial, digital divide) to engage in discussion regarding Bosnia/Herzegovina, and for this alone I do find it somewhat misguided to reprimand the mere existence of her effort; that the "right" or "wrong" approach in this case is but a philosophical interpretation, for lack of a better terms.

For while nowhere near a Susan Sontag in terms of emotional immediacy or lyrical conveyance nor in the sheer physical involvement or stakes regarding her/the subject, nor the movie's incomparability to, say- Denis Villeneuve's (in my opinion amazing) depiction of and narrative for the plight of women abused as (a) casualty of war in "Incendies", as a trained architect it is difficult for me to admit this, but her position (or rather her positioning) here mirrors that of her current husband's through the initial effort to reconstruct the gulf coast following hurricane Katrina, for which, armed with a perfectly kitschy band of metro-sexual American, Scandinavian, and European "architects" (installation artists at best in my honest view, none of whom having struck me as particularly preoccupied with the quite fecund architectural traditions and heritage of the region, but again- those become philosophical concerns, contextually speaking)- it must be said- did appreciated much to bring a healthy and functional working order to, at least in considerion of so daunting a task.

... they certainly did more than I (was capable of doing) myself.

And so although I have yet to see the movie, and while your take on the subject is one of privilege, which is to say is formed directly from and to the heart of the matter, I can not help but think there must be a modicum of (possibly artistically/aesthetically flawed) constructive good to be found either within OR because of it, and it is this small portion, if not its momentum- which must be absorbed and ran with.

Now; with all that said I must fully agree with other commenters here (for what, the millionth time now?) on the deplorable, abjectly immature, and increasingly narrow-viewed manner of this particular "film critic"'s work; for christ's sake, if not grow up on her own haste, can she at least be edited for quality standard already?

Srepcic
Srepcic

Ajde, bre, bosanci, oladite. Film je đubre, rat u Bosni nije bio holokaust. Isto tako, ne postoji ni bosanski jezik na kome je film snimljen, kao ni bošnjaci, ima samo Srba ili Hrvata muslimanske veroispovesti. Dosadiste i bogu i ljudima...

T.V.
T.V.

So an actor can't make a film about something of interest to that person? Yes, lets limit people to a 10 mile radius. So small minded.

Sakara
Sakara

you're probably a jolie fan.

sorry, but angie is too hooked on heroin to fuck you.

You are an idiot
You are an idiot

Everyone here is under an alias... I just chose mine to point our this moron being an idiot.

I'm not going to even respond to the rest of your comments because I specifically pointed out that the Chetniks ARE like the Nazis (although, even a bigger embarrassment since they're failures). I never said regular Serbs are Nazis and comented that they, too, experiences hardships in the Balkans. So, before you go off on rants, please do read and comprehend what you're getting mad about.

Truthful
Truthful

that had been placed in such a situation as depicted in this film , I wish you a lifetime of peace and happiness, and I sincerely pray that we all may have it amongst one and other once again. God Bless. (my first post is 2 posts prior to this one just work your way up, sorry)

Mayukh Sen
Mayukh Sen

Absolutely agree with you, T.V. Small-minded indeed. If people go into the film with their "oh, what the hell does she know about the war anyway, she's such a colonialist" mentality, that may be exactly what they get. Such is our cultural shortsightedness.

 

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