Tim Roth’s only directing role to date, takes a blunt look at incest and sexual violence in what initially seems like a normal family. It consists of Dad, Mum, teenage son Tom and daughter Jessie and the newly born Alice. The family has recently moved from London to an isolated farm cottage in Devon to make a new start, much to the disapproval of Tom who is bored and lonely. Returning from a shopping trip with his mother Tom sees his sister in the bath with his father. Some days later he witnesses the violent rape of Jessie by his father in an old wartime bunker, which increases Tom’s determination to expose these terrible goings-on to his mother.
|Daughter and Father.|
Roth is on record as stating that he wanted to make ‘a grown up film’ and he’s certainly achieved that with The War Zone (1999). He handles the strong subject matter with great understanding. Firstly portraying the family as perfectly normal and then successfully expounds how the action of one adult can destroy it. This story driven film, told from Tom’s perspective, highlight’s the effect’s it has on both sibling’s with the tension worsening between the two when Jessie realises how much her brother knows.
|Tom and Jessie.|
The film, which won nine awards and 10 nominations, stars Ray Winstone as the father and Tilda Swinton as the mother both exceptional, but the children carry the film. Lara Belmont (Jessie) and Freddie Cunliffe (Tom) were complete unknowns before attending the open casting to audition for the two roles. Based on a novel of the same name by Alexander Stuart this important story does not judge or offer a solution, harrowing, sad and heart breaking but an honest emotionally involving film, but not necessarily for every one.