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Movie Review of - A War

Movie Review of A War 

A War is a Danish film that depicts the troops of Denmark as part of the NATO contingent engaged in battle with insurgents in Helmand province, Afghanistan as well as the effect of the war on the military families at home. The movie is historically accurate and keeps within the realm of reality; something that many Hollywood movies tend not to do. If you are an Afghan war veteran - as I am - you will come away with an appreciation of how this movie got the war right. It isn't a patriotic film by any means but it depicts the soldiers of Denmark in a positive light and is reflective of the many aspects of war that the infantryman contends with in a counterinsurgency environment.

Military families the world over experience discomfort and sometimes turmoil when one of the parents ships out on a long deployment. The parent left at home deals with the absence of the spouse, the difficulties the children have coping with the temporary loss of a parent, family emergencies, and common everyday stress of being a single parent - all the while worrying about the health and safety of the spouse in the war zone. This movie does a decent job of depicting life at home in Copenhagen while the soldier is away in a war zone.

The Danish provided a long-term commitment to the Afghan conflict with many members of the military working at every level of headquarters staffs as well as deploying tactical level units that were engaged in combat in the very dangerous Helmand province. Most will remember Helmand as the battleground of the British military and the U.S. Marine Corps. Less known is the contributions by the Danish to that volatile region of Afghanistan and of the high ratio of combat losses. Denmark has sent over 10,000 personnel to Afghanistan since 2002 - many of them stationed in Helmand province.

The themes of the movie will be easily recognizable by the combat veteran. The movie depicts the worries about moving through terrain strewn with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the intense wait for a MEDEVAC to pick up critically wounded soldiers, the frustration of requesting air support while dealing with the Rules of Engagement (RoE) and concerns of Civilian Casualties (CIVCAS), inability to protect the civilian population against an enemy that travels freely in contested areas, and difficulties involved in interacting with the Afghan population. Of course, there is the aspect of trying to make sense of a war where progress seems to be elusive and the concept of morality is viewed from many different perspectives.

The movie is centered on a Danish commander (played by lead actor Pilou Asbaek) and his family. He is confronted with the dilemma of leading troops in a dangerous conflict where the mission of protecting the Afghan population, defeating the insurgents, and keeping his men safe seems overwhelming. In addition, like most other military service personnel, he is confronted with issues on the home front. Many of the supporting cast are members of the Danish military with combat experience. This is definitely a good movie that, in part, will help the non-military viewer understand some facets of the Afghan conflict.

More Information about the film: A War

A War / Krigen

A War on Twitter

Official Movie Trailer for A War - (the movie has English subtitles)


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