Life During Wartime

I saw Life During Wartime last Friday. It’s an interesting film that I’m happy to recommend to people who enjoy thoughtful cinema.

Here’s the trailer:

Although the scenes in the trailer are from the film, the tone and feeling are entirely different. The trailer feels whimsical and random, whereas the film is considered and confronting.

While watching the film, I got the impression that everything – every scene, every word – was measured and purposeful.

Paedophiles and terrorists were used to demonstrate dehumanisation and demonisation. A spectrum of age groups were used to contrast perceptions of innocence, guilt, and immorality. Locations were chosen carefully, and interactions between characters progressed the development of the film’s core themes at a good pace.

As the credits started, I was left with a fairly cohesive collection of concepts:

  • We’re all animals, with various needs and imperatives
  • The idea that anyone can be all good or all evil is fanciful and ignorant
  • People cannot change their nature, and it’s best to accept this

I’m surprised by the fairly mixed reception to the film. Most of the negative reviews seem to compare it to Solondz’s earlier work, which seems a little unfair. I feel that it stands on its own as a thought-provoking and accomplished film.