Review of 5 Days of War Film
5 Days of War (also known as 5 Days of August), a film by the director Renny Harlin, tries to capture the intricacy and complexity of the short Georgian Russian de facto war over South Ossetia and Abkhazia in August of 2008 through the eyes of an American journalist, his cameraman, and a Georgian native as they become caught up in the conflict. The movie is rated R for strong bloody scenes, atrocities of war, violence and language.
The move starts with an amazing scene as the main character Thomas Anders (played by Rupert Friend) and his colleagues are ambushed in Iraq by militant fighters while covering the Iraq War as journalists. There is meets the Georgian coalition troops serving in Iraq who rescued them but not without losses. The movie then flash forwards to 2008 as tensions rise along the Georgian Russian border and as the separatist rebels in Abkhazia and South Ossetia become more assertive.
The serene life of peace and quiet in the sleepy Georgian country side is interrupted and destroyed as mounting tensions in the border regions give rise of violence. The movie follows the American journalists to a Georgian wedding which is subsequently bombed by Russian MIGs and we are introduced to a Georgian native woman who walks us through the tragedy befalling her people.
The movie has overtures of pro-Georgian themes but how can a journalist report on the horrors that occurred during this war without showing how cruel the invading rebel mercenaries were to the civilian population. There were marked scenes that can only be classified as ethnic cleansing as unarmed women and children were simply gunned down and summary executions of government officials of Georgia took place. We are also shown the destruction of Gori which is a city in eastern Georgia that is utterly decimated by Russian and South Ossetian forcers.
We are also introduced to the inner workings of President of Georgia, Mr. Mikheil Saakashvili, played by Andy Garcia. The conflicts of the mind and indecisions that he faced as his advisers try to move the nation towards a policy and the tough decisions Mr. Saakashvili had to take to preserve Georgia. We also get a view of western involvement in the Georgian affairs as western press public relations officer advices Mikheil Saakashvili on what course of action to take. We also gain a glimpse into American President George W. Bush and his involvement in the conflict.
More than any atrocities shown in the movie, the most shocking and predictable atrocity was the apathy of the American people and most civilized nations to what was happening in Georgia. The world was caught up watching the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing that most networks refused to air clips or even offer a small coverage of the conflict in Georgia. Human rights organizations condemn Russian aggression and the violation of human rights that took part on both sides of the border. Russia had denied the charges of ethnic cleansing and violation of human rights.
The release of the movie is already condemned by Russian state media but praised in former Soviet nations in the region. The movie seeks to explain the conflict in terms of who the players were, the politics involved and the diplomatic efforts that went on behind the brutal scenes of war. The visual effects of the movie were amazing and the movie was brilliantly scripted to follow the small group of people through much of eastern Georgia as it was being invaded. It is definitely a must see film and an enjoyable film. It is the Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun featuring the conflict in the South Caucasus. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars rating for being an amazing movie.