Released: April 2010(Germany)
Director: Uwe Boll
Run Time: 98 Minutes
Kristanna Loken: Malin Lausberg
David O’Hara: Freddie Smith
Noah Danby: Theo Schwartz
Matt Frewer: Ted Duncan
Hakeem Kae-Kazim: Captain Jack Tobamke
Sammy Sheik: Janjaweed Commander
Billy Zane: Bob Jones
Edward Furlong: Adrian Archer
Genocide: The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political or cultural group. Throughout human history, entire groups of people and civilizations have been completely annihilated to serve the demands of another group. Millions upon millions of people have been murdered for what? Resources, religion, racism? All of the above, sadly. While Hitler’s extermination of Germany’s Jewish population is among the most notorious during the 20th century, we have to remember that our erstwhile allies at the time, the Russians, were just as guilty of slaughtering millions of their own people during Stalin’s regime. There have been multiple movies over the past decade which have helped bring attention to such crises. Black Hawk Down covered the events in Somalia in 1993, Tears of the Sun dealt with the civil war in Nigeria, and Hotel Rwanda recalled the events in Rwanda in 1994. I generally try not to end up on a soapbox on this site, because it’s about entertainment….mostly. Sometimes, however, an exception must be made. Especially when it comes to genocide. That word is going to be used a lot in this post. I’m going to be reviewing Uwe Boll’s film: Attack on Darfur, which is set during the actual war happening right now in Darfur.
Attack on Darfur begins as a group of Western journalists, under the protection of the African Union, are embarking on journey that will take them to Darfur, where atrocities are being committed by the Janjaweed terror group. After making a slight detour to a mass grave in which human bones, both adult and child, are discovered. Then they reach a nearby village where they bring food and water. It’s here that the journalists, lead by Malin Lausberg, interview some of the villagers about the crimes that have been committed against them. After a couple of hours, they leave only to see that a group of Janjaweed militants are on their way to massacre the village. Facing a moment of crisis, two of the journalists make the decision along with Captain Jack Tobamke to go back and try to persuade the commander of the Janjaweed unit to move on through the village peacefully. The story here is actually quite compelling, because it does deal with real horrific events and surprisingly, Uwe Boll gives a face to these people. It’s an emotional and gut-wrenching story that really tugs at the heart-strings. That’s all thanks to some very fine work by the actors. Everyone here is fantastic, even Edward Furlong, who really doesn’t do much. The people they got to play the villagers are astounding.
The first half of the film is basically the setup. It allows the audience to meet the journalists and the people who are escorting them. But where this film truly shines is when they get to the village. We see people who are trying to survive from day to day. The journalists are providing food and try to make a difference. We see Malin give some children some balloons, and the smile that shows up on their faces is heartwarming. The stories that are told by some of the women and men are extraordinarily powerful, despite the film being fiction. We are drawn into this world and we connect with these people. We care about these people and whether or not they live or die. That makes the attack on the village that much harder to watch. Uwe Boll has never been a subtle man when it comes to violence, and he certainly doesn’t pull any punches here. As far as the effects go, I noticed very little if any use of CG. So, what you see is what you get. The violence is brutal, merciless and unrelenting. Unfortunately, that is where the film started to fall apart.
The violence is brutal, but some of that power is lost because the camerawork is absolutely nuts. I understand the use of the shaky-cam technique in war movies, it adds to the realism. But here, it’s incoherent and it’s happening all the time. The violence is heavy, but the use of rape in the movie is used excessively. I understand that Boll wanted to show the reality of the situation in Darfur, but I don’t think he really needed to be so heavy-handed here. The other big issue is that two of the journalists and the commander demanded to go back to the village to try and save these people. The situation in that village is almost hopeless, so having two people with handguns and one with an assault rifle aren’t going to make much of a dent. That’s about as unrealistic as it gets. That being said, I’m very surprised at the level of competence on display here by Uwe Boll. This guy is known for some notoriously bad movies, but Rampage was a pretty good film. Attack on Darfur is also a really good movie. It’s very clear to me that Uwe Boll cares a lot about the subject and the amount of effort that he put into the film shows. He’s good when he chooses the right project, as a director. The film is scored by Uwe Boll regular Jessica de Rooij. It gives the film a very solid emotion core, and it’s amazing. This is a movie that needs to be seen. While I think Uwe Boll could have handled the attack a little better, the film does bring attention to a very serious third-world problem.
As I said in the opening paragraph, I usually try not to preach or otherwise soapbox on a particular subject. When it comes to genocide, this is a serious issue facing our world today. We as a species and an international community need to do more to prevent and prosecute these crimes. When our children ask why so many people have died for no logical reason, what are we going to tell them? What will they tell their children? That we sat on our hands and did nothing because it shouldn’t concern us? I’m sorry, that’s not the message that we should be sending to future generations. We can make a difference, and Attack on Darfur is a movie that tries, as does other movies that try to expose these evils. Whether it’s genocide or slavery, it’s our duty as human beings to denounce and condemn these evil people.
Morality message aside, I can honestly say I can recommend Attack on Darfur based on its technical merits and acting alone. It’s a well-made film about a very important subject. I should warn you, though, that the DVD case features Billy Zane wielding a gun. He does not, he wields a camera. Attack on Darfur is not an action movie, nor should it be misconstrued as such. It’s a very solid drama and powerful film in its own right. Uwe Boll has really outdone himself with this one. It’s been praised as one of Uwe Boll’s best films ever and I absolutely agree. I’m giving this one a very respectable 8.5/10. It’s worth watching at least once.