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If you have seen Tobias Lindholm’s previous films, you know that there will not be a “Green Zone” waiting for you. In the same way “A Hijacking” was the cinema verite version of “Captain Philipps”, “Krigen / A War” takes the more blunt, calm, realistic and consequently more powerful approach to the challenges soldiers face when thrown into their Afghanistan or Pakistan assignments.

In short: this is Pedersen’s third film I have seen, and they are all outstanding! In theme, Krigen is closely related to “The Hunt”, featuring a set of characters who need to judge and make decisions based on the information they have, whether it is a commanding officer in a combat situation or a judge and jury needing to assess whether he has failed in this. You have to mix moral and legal arguments, and you have to consider the consequences of your actions.

This latter bit is the most grueling insight: whether you choose to protect your comrades that are under fire, or that of the locals that you were sent to protect, whether to speak the truth at a court of law, or to lie for the sake of a “right” outcome, whether to endanger your family for the sake of doing the right thing… sometimes all options are utterly cruel.

The course of action does not offer an easy way out, all the choices made here have irrevocable consequences that will stay with the characters for the rest of their lives, most likely with damaging consequences. You can only imagine what the main character’s Claus Pedersen’s life will look like a few years down the road. He will suffer, and will be torn apart, and his family will join him in his suffering, and that looks like the best possible outcome. The cast is a who is who of all the brilliant Danish television that I have grown so fond of over the past years, with Pilou Asbæk and Søren Malling  of Borgen fame probably the most well-known. Lindholm seems to have taken over the role as flagship of Danish cinema from his Dogma-based predecessors. Looking at the quality output of that little market keeps leaving me stunned…

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