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A War 

Wednesday, Feb 17 2016
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A pattern seems to be emerging as Tobias Lindholm follows up A Hijacking with the equally direct and unsentimental A War, another examination of men under heavy stress. In a sense, it's actually about three wars. Claus (Pilou Asbæk) is a Danish army commander in Afghanistan contending with both the rigors of combat as well as the mental health of the men under his command — particularly the troubled Lasse (Dulfi Al-Jabouri). Meanwhile — parallels! — his wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is dealing with raising their three children — particularly the troubled Julius (Adam Chessa). The third war begins when a decision made to save Lasse in combat sends Claus home to be tried by the Judge Advocate General for the death of 11 Afghani citizens, the outcome of which may separate him from his family for many more years. The jingoism and rah-rah spirit that can be found in recent American films about contemporary conflicts such as Lone Survivors or 13 Hours is blessedly absent from< i>A War,though the "You can't imagine what it's like" cliché is trotted out again, mostly because it's true. But there's never the sense that Lindholm wants you to go out and hug a serviceman so much as to consider what they go through and whether it's all worth it.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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