A Private War review – heartfelt biopic of legendary frontline reporter

This portrait of Marie Colvin, the daring journalist with an eyepatch, captures her badass image but stops short of revealing the woman behind the myth

This film arrives at an interesting moment. A US court has just found Bashar Al-Assad’s Syrian government guilty of the extra-judicial killing of Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin in Homs in 2012. She was in the building that the Syrian authorities shelled – courageously denouncing their cynicism and brutality to the very end. Now Colvin is the subject of this movie, a legendary figure who affected an eyepatch after losing an eye to shrapnel in Sri Lanka in 2001. After her death, she was in increasing danger of being mythologised. There was a Colvin figure in Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun – a daring female reporter with an eyepatch.

This heartfelt work, based on a Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner entitled Marie Colvin’s Private War covers Colvin’s troubled, passionate career up to Homs, where her reporting disproved Assad’s lies about not targeting civilians. Rosamund Pike does an honest job playing Colvin and Jamie Dornan is her photographer, Paul Conroy. It suffers, inevitably, in comparison with the recent documentary about Conroy: Under the Wire, which is a fierce, funny, authentic guide to what happened. And that “private” in the title? Despite this film’s depiction of Colvin’s badass image, her own private life is sketched in rather demurely and hesitantly, as if afraid of being seen to trivialise her work, or imply that it is merely a symptom of some home-front unhappiness.

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Source: theguardian
A Private War review – heartfelt biopic of legendary frontline reporter