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HTF REVIEW: "No Man's Land" (with screenshots)

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(with screenshots): post #1'> #1 of 6 (with screenshots): post #1' /> OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 25 2002 - 10:15 AM

Posted Image

No Man's Land

Neither side can agree

I had been planning to review No Man's

for the past few days. It was next

on my list of screener reviews for the forum.

How coincidental it became when last night the

film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film 2001.

Apparently, No Man's Land has been

at the top of the critics list even before the

Oscars. It became Best Screenplay winner

at the Cannes Film Festival as well as winning

Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden

Globe Awards.

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The film begins in the midst of a dense fog as

a small group of Bosnian soldiers make their way

towards the front lines. It is soon apparent they

are lost, and when the mists eventually clear, they

are massacred by the Serbs. One survivor, Chiki

(Branko Djuric), ends up in a trench in no man's

land, unable to return to his side. Shortly after,

two Serbs make their way to the trench searching

for survivors. Chiki kills one of the Serb soldiers,

but ends up in a standoff with the other, Nino

(Rene Bitorajac).

It is soon discovered that one of Chiki's friends,

Cera, is still alive. The Serbs thought he was

dead and placed a bouncer mine underneath him. If

he moves, the mine will explode from beneath him.

Posted Image

With no other recourse, the Serb and Bosnian

soldiers must come to terms and combine efforts in

order to survive their situation within the trench

even as the situation becomes more unstable as

United Nations forces arrive with an accompanying

media caravan.

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No Man's Land conveys a clear anti-war

message, and gets saved by good characters that

distract us from the lack of action in certain


How is the transfer?

MGM has produced a 2-side DVD disc featuring

16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1) and Standard

(1.33:1) Transfers.

Generally, picture quality is very good, with

only the slightest hint of video noise. Colors

are well balanced, with flesh tones taking on

slightly more redness than they should. Otherwise,

the picture transfer looks quite nice.

Since this is a foreign film, it is necessary

to watch with English, French or

Spanish subtitles. There is no English

dub, and frankly, I am thankful. Foreign films

should not be dubbed in English.

Those of you who frown upon having to watch

a film with subtitles will not be distracted.

The film actually has characters speaking in

Bosnian, English and French.

Presented in 5.1 Serbo-Croatian surround, the

film's very realistic sound design is quite

noteworthy. Explosions and gunfire assault the

audience from all directions at totally unexpected

moments. The quieter passages are accented by the

sounds of nature in the rear channels.

Special Features

Posted Image

The DVD contains the Original Theatrical

, and nothing more.

Final Thoughts

I am not surprised by the critical acclaim being

given to a film that is somewhat simplistic, but

yet opens the audience's eyes to the ugliness

of war that takes place in the green and sunny

valley of No Man's Land.

This film is certainly worth a rental, and with

most on-line retailers selling this film at $20

or less, it is a safe blind purchase that will

thoroughly entertain you for 90 minutes. It's

a bittersweet, thought-provoking and highly tragic

film all rolled into one.

Release Date: April 9, 2002


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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(with screenshots): post #2'> #2 of 6 (with screenshots): post #2' /> OFFLINE   SteveGon


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Posted March 25 2002 - 11:51 AM

Ron, thanks for the review. I've been looking forward to seeing this since I first heard about it. Have you ever seen Before the Rain? It's an excellent film that explores the strife in the Republic of Macedonia. Sadly, it is not out on dvd.

(with screenshots): post #3'> #3 of 6 (with screenshots): post #3' /> OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted March 25 2002 - 03:45 PM

Before the Rain is, in my opinion, a better overall film than No Man's Land, much more poignant and subtle in its anti-war message. No Man's Land is certainly excellent as well, though the media satire seemed overly familiar. The ending, though I saw it coming a mile away, was very effective. Still, of the nominated foriegn films this year, my dollar is going to Amelie.
"Why I laugh?"

(with screenshots): post #4'> #4 of 6 (with screenshots): post #4' /> OFFLINE   Edwin Pereyra

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Posted March 26 2002 - 09:29 PM

Here are my thoughts on this film I posted in the Movies section just last week. I agree that it is a good film.

Thanks for the recommendation on Before The Rain. I will make it a point to see that one.

DVD Unwind: Paradise Now (Coming) • King Kong - - • KeaneThe Squid And The WhaleA History Of ViolenceHarry Potter and the Goblet of FireThe Best Of Youth (Italy) • Good Night And Good LuckHowl's Moving CastleWalk The Line - - • ZathuraNorth Country

(with screenshots): post #5'> #5 of 6 (with screenshots): post #5' /> OFFLINE   Prentice Cotham

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Posted March 27 2002 - 04:20 AM

I highly recommened Before the Rain if you like No Man's Land. It's definitely a superior film. I've been trying to get it released to DVD for the past 3 to 4 years to no avail. I can't even find out for sure who has the rights these days. I've communicated with the director and he's not sure himself.
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(with screenshots): post #6'> #6 of 6 (with screenshots): post #6' /> OFFLINE   Aryn Leroux

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Posted March 27 2002 - 07:37 PM

I overlooked this review last week. Nice Job Ron!. This is a movie i wish more people would see. I Enjoyed it quite abit. If only the majority of americans were not stubborn when it comes to subtitles.

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