Parents' Guide to

In the Land of Blood and Honey

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Angelina Jolie's movie is both horrifying and unengaging.

Movie R 2011 127 minutes
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Angelina Jolie makes her feature writing and directing debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, and she makes a critical error. In her deep desire to send a message about the atrocities committed in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, she forgets to spend much time on emotionally interesting characters. Instead, she jumps right into the atrocities, and viewers get scene after scene of rape, blood, and brutality.

In fact, it's actually unclear whether the main characters are ever really in love with each other. They seem happy for about one minute before the war starts, but afterward their relationship is cold and ambiguous. Danijel is shown to be weak and ineffective, and he's not appealing. Whether the point is romance or escape is unclear, and the movie fails to work in either direction. There's a ridiculous attempt to keep Ajla beautiful even after months in a prison camp, and though there are lessons about "empty space," they fall flat, as they're explained rather than suggested.

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