Anfal Campaign, Bosnian director, Branko Djuric, Christopher Lee, Colin Farrell, Danis Tanovic, Jamie Sives, Kelly Reilly, Kurdistan, No Man's Land, Paz Vega, post traumatic stress, scars of war, survivor's guilt, Toronto Film Festival, Triage, Triage DVD Review
Studio/Distributor: E1 Entertainment
Director: Danis Tanovic
Principle Cast: Colin Farrell, Paz Vega, Christopher Lee, Jamie Sives, Kelly Reilly
Length: 99 minutes
Described inadequately on imdb.com with “The wife of a photojournalist sets out to discover why he came home from a recent assignment without his colleague,” Triage is an incredibly provocative and emotional film about the scars of war, survivor’s guilt, and the human ego’s judgment of others’ behaviour in unimaginable situations.
Deftly executed by the Oscar Award winning Bosnian director of No Man’s Land, Danis Tanovic (who also wrote the screenplay for Triage), this challenging and graphic film leaves you thinking about it long after it ends while the actors’ performances in it simply blow you away.
Colin Farrell (who lost a significant amount of weight for this role) gives an Oscar worthy performance as Mark Walsh, a photojournalist who travels to war torn Kurdistan in 1988 (Did Kurdistan actually exist in 1988?) with his best friend David, (Jamie Sives) whom he has convinced to accompany him against David’s better judgment. They endure the horrific circumstances following an Iraqi offensive (possibly based on the Anfal Campaign) after which Mark returns to Dublin, injured and suffering from PTSD, but no one has seen or heard from David, who had been more than eager to get home to his nine months pregnant wife. Mark’s Spanish wife Elena is understandably worried about him and calls on her estranged, retired psychologist grandfather, Joaquin Morales, to counsel her husband, and together they slowly unravel the truth behind Mark’s trauma.
While the ending of this realistic R-rated film (that opened at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival) isn’t a surprise, I can forgive the director because the acting in this film is so damn good. Both Paz Vega and Kelly Reilly give convincing performances as the photojournalists’ strong and independent wives and Branko Djuric is superb as a Kurd doctor of war who is forced to play God. However, it is Christopher Lee as Morales who really illuminates the screen and every scene that he is in with Colin Farrell is so compelling to watch that you can’t take your eyes off either of them. Their chemistry is palpable and 88-year-old Lee, who speaks Spanish and carries off a pitch perfect accent, is absolutely seamless in this role.
I found most of the special features on the DVD (except for pointless, boring B-roll footage), including the well-edited but slightly long trailer, a making of the film featurette, and SoundBytes from the principal cast to be quite enthralling.
Although I’ve been a fan of Colin Farrell’s since I saw him in Tigerland over 10 years ago, I am now officially madly in love with him (purely for his exquisite acting talent and black Irish good looks!) and am convinced that if he continues making films of the caliber of In Bruges, Crazy Heart, Ondine and Triage, that he will one day win the Academy Award that he so truly deserves.