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Review: In the Land of Blood and Honey

Angelina Jolie's feature directorial debut
By TOM MEEK  |  January 5, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

Much has been said about Angelina Jolie's feature directorial debut set against the bloody Bosnian conflict of the 1990s — vanity project, plagiarism, and so on. Putting that aside, Jolie has loosely reworked the story of Romeo and Juliet in an infamous setting familiar from CNN but here seen from the inside. Serb police officer Danijel (Goran Kostic, looking very Daniel Craig–like) and Ajla (Zana Marjanovic), a Muslim artist, make a fetching Sarajevan pair until the war hits and they're relegated to opposite ends of the ethnic equation. Muslim women are brutally raped as a tactic, so Danijel, now an officer and the son of a prominent general, attempts to shield Ajla. His power is limited, and fate and internecine rage take over. Jolie's narrative power also has limitations, but thanks to the cast and chaotic historical backdrop, the horror of hate and war takes on a compelling human face.

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