In the Land of Blood and Honey Blu-ray Review
IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY explores the various relationships taking place on both sides of the early 90’s Bosnian war. It is a mildly graphic account of two people who had potential for romance before the war began; now finding themselves on conflicting sides of the spectrum. Thoughtfully crafted, this picture gives viewers the brutal reality of war without being too gruesome, all while providing a provoking storyline.
We meet Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) a vibrant Muslim painter who, prior to the war, was in the flirtatious stages of a relationship with Danijel (Groan Kostic), a serious Serbian military officer. Capturing the mood of lust and attraction the two feel for each other sets the stage for a ‘what if’ scenario between the couple. Sadly this relationship is never fully explored due to the start of the war. Fast forward five months before we see the duo together again, this time in an extreme circumstance as Ajla has been taken prisoner along with dozens of other women to the same military camp helmed by Danijel. The women are raped, beaten, and forced to care for the officers by doing their laundry, cooking and cleaning. Ajla is the only exception to the intimate violations thanks to Danijel’s protection.
Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is a poignant portrayal of a sad time in Bosnian history. The conflicting emotions in this war-torn journey make this film an important one to watch, to see the untold tragedy that occurred not too long ago. Jolie’s directorial debut is a simple masterpiece and I look forward to more films coming from the skilled humanitarian. The assorted locations, scenery and sets play a perfect part in telling the story. Jolie makes some beautiful film choices in capturing each scene. Casting local actors to participate in this film, we are treated to an extra amount of honesty in the acting as most experienced this conflict first hand.
The quiet strength Zana Marjanovic’s Ajla portrays is brilliant, even after she is beaten, her spirit is not broken. With unconventional beauty, there are moments where she glows on screen. Marjanovic was an excellent choice and she sells the performance with the right amount of melancholy and hope. Opposite of Marjanovic, Danijel’s Gronan Kostic excels in wrestling with the demons he faces; struggling to serve in the war and follow his heart. Kostic bounces from being surprisingly charming at times to being easily despised by himself and the viewer. With a bit of Daniel Craig charisma you cannot help but hope he will make the right decisions. His drained expressions at the end of the film highlight the haunting wear of war. Supporting the film as Ajla’s worried and grieving sister, Lejla, Vanessa Glodjo’s performance is flawless. Rade Serbedzija’s gruff General and Danijel’s disapproving father intensifies the conflict in the emotions you have toward Danijel. This seasoned actor is good at being bad.
This is a hard film for me to recommend as it is gut wrenching and sad to stomach. But, the way the story unfolds makes it a tragically beautiful film that should not be missed.
Video: (2.40:1 Widescreen) Amazing picture for IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY’s war drama.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY’s dialogue is perfectly heard on this Blu-ray.
Deleted Scenes (16:32): Eleven deleted scenes, one glorious play all button. Some moments could have added depth to the story, others were wisely cut.
The Making Of In The Land Of Blood And Honey (10:24): Writer/Director Angelina Jolie and Producer Graham King reflect on the creation/script development, while cast members reflect on their acting experience and time in the war. Lots of praise for the authenticity of this picture.
Q&A with writer/director Angelina Jolie and Actress Vanesa Glodjo (1:02:03): Writer/Director Angelina Jolie and Supporting Actress Vanessa Glodjo (Lejla) answer online chat questions about IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY. This is very interesting and is worth the hour long time commitment.