A Private War is the film adaptation based on the article ‘Marie Colvin’s Private War' that appeared in Vanity Fair. It is the directorial debut for a feature film from Matthew Heineman. This movie is an uncompromising look at the harsh realities faced by war correspondents. Heineman doesn’t pull any punches with his harrowing portrayal of a deeply complex and powerful woman.
Marie Colvin was one of the most celebrated journalists. Working for the Sunday Times she visited the most dangerous war zones on the planet to bring a voice to the voiceless. Colvin lost the sight in her left eye after being struck from a blast in Sri Lanka, resulting in her wearing her famous eye patch for the rest of her life. There's no doubt, that she paid a terrible price from repeatedly submitting herself to the dark horrors of war. Leading to her suffer from PTSD and self-medicating to battle her inner demons.
For me, this was a solidly executed heartfelt portrayal from Matthew Heineman. However, the real standout comes from the incredible performance from Rosamund Pike. Personally I have viewed Pike as one of the most overrated actors around. But with this performance, she totally carries the film on her shoulders. And it's amazing that she did not come away with some awards from this outstanding lead role.
Now, even though Rosamund Pike steals the show here there are some solid performances from the rest of the cast too. Jamie Dornan (Siege of Jadotville and Endings Beginnings) is great playing the photographer Paul Conroy, who worked closely with Colvin. Stanley Tucci adds something fresh, playing the romantic interest for Colvin. But it is Tom Hollander, who connects with Pike's performance perfectly. Hollander plays Marie's boss, who battles with genuine fear for Colvin's safety and the need to sell papers.
All in all, A Private War is a fitting tribute to a damaged but courageous individual. This is a very serious bit of cinema and can be very challenging to watch with a harsh realism that is seen rarely today. But if you are looking for a deeply powerful film to watch, you should give A Private War a go. Especially for the amazing performance delivered from Rosamund Pike.