Coinciding with the latest shenanigans from accused genocidal mastermind Radovan Karadzic, a quixotic International Criminal Courtroom drama revisits the Bosnian conflict and its enduring half-life. Flustered Hague prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox), pressing a case against a slippery Serb commander, loses her linchpin witness to perjury and suicide. She ropes in his sister, Mira (Anamaria Marinca), now ensconced with hubby and moppet in Germany, but that legal Hail Mary does not impress the higher-ups (one, a friend promoted over her; another, a part-time-lover). Escaping the echo chamber of hundreds of Law and Order episodes, this virtuous effort doggedly chews through negotiations and impasses, and sets high-minded justice in the context of the actual, and precarious, case. Yet for something staked on being “dialogue-driven” (until the witness intimidation, walking out of meetings is the movie’s violence), the writing by director Hans-Christian Schmid (Requiem) and Bernd Lange is more stilted and righteous than even the U.N. environs, with its humanity-embracing procedural-speak, calls for. Admirers of Marinca’s performance in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days will have to wait for something with more breathing room—did Mira really have to be married to a man surnamed Arendt?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 27, 2009