A fine performance by Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin smooths over the faults in this impassioned account of the fearless war correspondent’s life and death
Taking its inspiration from a posthumous 2012 Vanity Fair profile by Marie Brenner, this narrative feature debut from celebrated documentary-maker Matthew Heineman casts Rosamund Pike as the renowned American journalist Marie Colvin, who risked her life to report from the front line, and seven years ago paid the ultimate price. “Why is the world not here?” was Colvin’s repeated question as she ventured into the most deadly – and often overlooked – areas of conflict. The answer seems simple: where Colvin felt an unstoppable need to witness and report on “the truth”, others often feared to follow.
Heineman’s film opens and closes in Homs, the besieged Syrian city that Colvin memorably described as “a ghost town, echoing with the sound of shelling and the crack of sniper fire”, in which terrorised civilians were cut off from supplies and medical care. As cinematographer Robert Richardson’s camera rises from the rubble like an ascending spirit, we hear Colvin’s disembodied voice ruminating upon her legacy, and concluding that “I cared enough to go to these places and write, in some way, something that would make someone else care as much about it as I did at the time”.
A Private War review – portrait of a reporter in the line of fire