I Declare WarCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Never before has the power of young children’s imagination been so well dramatised as in I Declare War. A dry, hot afternoon in the woods sees a group of 12-year-old school children playing an innocent game of “Capture the Flag”. But the pressures of war can be overwhelming: no one leaves innocent.
The performances from these children are astoundingly strong, but then, this is their game, their world. Michael Friend plays the outcast loser-turned-big-bully Skinner, who is so genuinely threatening that he has you squirming in your seat with fear and shock at his unruliness. PK, the undefeated general, is another captivating character, representing the clever popular kid who everyone one admires, and thus hates – when his war tactics are backed up with references to real, historical wars in the face of disobedience, who can blame them?
Weapons range from sticks to twigs to toy guns and paint balloons, but that isn’t how they see it. Full blown explosions, cross-bows and bazookas are all naturally accepted among the children; the bigger the stick, the more violent the weapon.
The clever inclusion of Jess in the team allows for another dynamic. With naive, childlike dreams of a life in romantic Paris, with fellow blonde-haired blue-eyed little darling Quinn, she has her own motives for winning the war.
The cinematography mimics that of real war films, giving a very real sense of danger. In films that depict real wars there is at least rationale and something real to fight for, but in I Declare War there is nothing at stake more than pride. This begs the question of how low children will descend to gain honour and admiration, and that element of mystery has you hanging onto every scene in fear of what the next will bring; will the war ever end before reality kicks in, and hard?
I Declare War is released nationwide on 6th June 2014.
Watch the trailer for I Declare War here: