This sensationalized, quasi-fictional, pseudo-documentary account of the 2008 brutal and unnecessary invasion of Georgia by Russia’s Vladimir Putin; claiming Georgian atrocities perpetrated against minority separatists. “5 Days of War” strives and accomplishes in presenting Georgia’s rendition and sentiments regarding the devastation and destruction it suffered in this minimal but horrific five days.
The film commences with a gory ambush in Iraq (2007) where war correspondences are attacked and slaughtered; “Thomas Anders” (aesthetically handsome Rupert Friend ) watches his fellow correspondent and girlfriend “Miriam” (Heather Graham) die during the attack; we see this through the lens of “Sebastian Ganz’s” (Richard Coyle) camera; we are on the spot witnesses and it is simultaneously thrilling and repulsive.
Thomas and Sebastian are reunited a year later in Georgia, having been alerted to the genocide, ethnic cleansing Russia is exercising against South Ossetia. Their mission is to inform the world; a world focused heavily on the Olympics in China; fascination with the fluff, not the fiber of international news.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (solidly acted by Andy Garcia) maintains his dignity, prescience while struggling against the ennui or neglect from civilized nations; a “David” whose belief in peace and non- violence eventually conquer the “Goliath” of Russian military might.
The wedding scene where the joy of the bride and groom is indiscriminately massacred by Russian planes throws Thomas and Sebastian into the heart of the foray; and Thomas into the arms of Tatia (Emmanuelle Chriqui) the American- educated sister of the bride. This coupling is only partially successful; the film could have succeeded amply without it.
The feverish, frenetic intensity of the battle scenes, reverberate with veracity; the cacophony of the landscape exploding, the intestine- churning pressure of the chaos and unknowing outcome are the crux, the magic of filmmaker’s (Renny Harlin) proficiency, ingenuity.
Movies entertain but oftentimes educate. The critical lesson of “5 Days of War” is the unmasking of a heinous travesty, massively ignored because of the monumental attention demanded by the summer Olympics in China; reminiscent of 1995 when all eyes watched the iconic trial of O.J. Simpson while the trial of Ramzi Yousef, one of the masterminds behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was shunned, neglected……….the rest is history.
“5 Days of War’ gives a legitimate dose of the “truth”; often in the words of Senator Hiram Johnson “the first casualty of war”.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!