‘A Private War’ Offers Necessary Cinema Viewing

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

Based on a revealing Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner,  “A Private War” chronicles the life of late war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in 2012 during a shelling attack in Homs, Syria, while covering the civil war for London’s The Sunday Times.  

Colvin was known for being incredibly resilient; when a Sri Lankan grenade blast left her blind in one eye, she simply slapped on an eye patch and kept working.

Oscar-nominated British actress Rosamund Pike portrays Colvin in “A Private War,” with many critics praising her performance as the best of her career.

The film is directed by Matthew Heineman, usually a documentary filmmaker, and written by Arash Amel, who burst onto the Hollywood scene by having two scripts listed in the prestigious Black List of the best unproduced screenplays. 

Jamie Dornan, known to most audiences from the erotic “Fifty Shades” series, displays his versatility in the role of photographer Paul Conroy, who worked alongside Colvin and narrowly survived the attack that killed her.  

“Dornan was about as mesmerizing as a window-display in the ‘Fifty Shades’ movies, but he’s absolutely terrific here, delivering a lovely and warm performance as arguably the most sympathetic and relatable character in the entire film,” Richard Roeper expressed in the Chicago Sun-Times. 

“A Private War” has received positive reviews since its mid-November release. “A fact-based feature film both celebrating and illuminating the disappearing, dangerous art of the war correspondent,” Moira MacDonald reported in the Seattle Times. 

Competing for ticket sales against popular titles “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star is Born” (undeniably more appropriate “holiday” film choices), “A Private War” is screening at the Bay Theatre by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas in Palisades Village in addition to local AMC and Arclight theater chains. 

Films like this often lack the advertising budgets that they deserve and therefore depend on word-of-mouth advertising to spread the good word.