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  • This movie could have been very preachy. It deals with a middle-aged woman who is very concerned about the effects of industry on the Icelandic environment and decides to take a very active role in opposing it, sabotaging efforts to create a new aluminum processing plant. All very PC.

    But it is the form that makes this movie truly exceptional, not to mention fun and fascinating to watch. It is full of imaginative touches that seem to come out of nowhere and that capture your attention and admiration.

    The acting is fine, and some of the countryside shots are wonderful, but it's not a scenic tour of Iceland. Rather, it's a remarkably create take on what could have been a very dull topic.
  • "Woman at war" it is a story about strong female who trying to do all she can, at any price, in order to save her homeland ecosystem. She is in partisan war against big technological giant who pollute her land. I give my salute and an applause to Halldóra Geirharðsdótti for her amazing performance both twins sisters Halla and Asa. The way how Halldóra run on Icelandic mounts and survice in wild nature would make to envy every single trail runner in the world together with Bear Grylls. Of course Cinematograph - Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson. The camera of this man shows magnificent landscapes of Iceland. I know it was shown many times ago in many movies. But in "Woman at the war" we don't see warm and green Iceland, as well as cold and snow land of Vikings. No we see foggy and grey tons, but this fact doesn't bring shade to Mr. Björgúlfsson work. Because the weather and colors of nature represent mood of protagonist. If you look at main banner of this film you may find hidden symbol. Treble clef. Because music is playing very important, or even A Key role in the movie. When Halla takes an actions and fights against police, government and spies systems we can hear\see her feelings & mood "in hands" of Icelandic music trio (Drumms\Sousaphone\Pianist &accordion). When, suddenly, in her life appears a hope, that somewhere in Ukraine there is a small girl (Nika) who lost her parents, at the war, from that moment, every single thought of Nika create for Halla a group of three Ukrainian choir singers. During all actions and all circumstances main heroine participate in, we see those 6 musicians represents different sides, and always split. But only at the end, we saw all of them standing together, when Halla and Nika finally met. I think these unity of different music styles together shows that Halla has finally find a peace in her life. This movie have everything. Good Acting performance. Great - cinematography. An Amazing music. Without any doubts - One of the best movies of 2018.
  • Every single scene, from the first second on, is sheer perfection. I wanna be Halla when I grow up!
  • A virtuous man alone against the system, there has been a lot on the silver screen, particularly when it comes to American movies where the figure of the individual hero is set, in accordance with the American ethos, as the paramount role model. From early cinema till today, examples abound, among the most seminal "The Life of Emile Zola", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "The Setup", "Harvey Milk" come to mind, but they are but a few samples of a practically endless list. By contrast, their female equivalents can be counted on the fingers of one hand: women fighting alone like Sally Field ("Norma Rae") or Julia Roberts ("Erin Brokovich") are the exceptions that prove the rule. But, well, The Times Are-A-Changin', as Bob Dylan once sang and are slowly acquiring (not everywhere alas!) the role they deserve. A point illustrated by this excellent Icelandic film, aptly titled 'Woman at War', offering the striking portrait of a modern-times female warrior, the wonderful Halla, played by the equally awesome actress Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir ("Regina!", "Of Horses and Men"). Inventively directed by Benedikt Erlingsson (the author of the already mentioned "Of Horses and Men"), it may well become a cult classic.

    To tell you the truth, before entering the hall, I thought I knew in advance how the film would develop : a corrupt system (in this case an aluminium company that threatens the environment of Iceland and its people), would make the protagonist (a carbon copy of the white hero) an activist who would start by winning her first fights before having to face severe counter-attacks only to triumph in the end, all the wrongs righted. The only thing that really attracted me was that the story was set among the unusual landscapes of Iceland. How big (and pleasant) my surprise was! For, as of the very first shot, it was quite evident that "Woman at War" was not going to tread the beaten track. What other movie indeed opens on a fifty-year old lady drawing a bow and shooting an arrow towards high voltage power lines? And not only that but also managing to cause a short-circuit cutting off supply in the aluminium plant area? There mustn't be many. Such an attack against toxic modernism carried out by a woman using archaic weapons sets the tone for this fanciful and utterly unpredictable film.

    For, in the wake of this inspired overture, imagination, suspense, laughter, happily follow suit. The delighted viewer is indeed treated to a whole menu of various pleasures, such as breathless sequences (Halla being hunted by cars, dogs, drones, helicopters), constant surprises and twists (impossible while watching a scene to guess what will come after), unexpected changes of tone (the underground warrior being also the conductor of an amateur choir), unusual ideas (Halla saved from icy waters by being plunged into a... hot water source), detachment from the action (the ever-present brass band) and irrepressible comedy (the recurring mishaps of a poor foreigner). At the same time and for the same ticket price, you get a very serious social and political commentary (among the topics broached, corruption, commitment, environment, the future of mankind). And although this last aspect is pessimistic, even bordering on bitterness and despair, it is always alleviated by the writer-director's sense of humor and narrative skills.

    A very positive assesment, to which can be added a fine homegenous cast in which Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, remarkable as she is, never tries to be number one.

    All in all, a perfect film, managing to combine art, entertainment and reflection, which is not so common. Recommended of course.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although in her late forties, eco-warrior Halla is an all-action woman: she thinks nothing of yomping across the Icelandic countryside, wading through icy streams and even disguising herself with a dead ram's carcass as she wages her campaign against heavy industry. But when a long-forgotten application to become an adoptive parent suddenly proves successful, Halla has to step up her campaign just as the police start getting more hi-tech...

    I will deal with the bad points first: a three-piece band (sometimes with a choir in what I think are Ukrainian traditional costumes - the film is part-financed by Ukraine) are frequently seen on-screen as they provide the background music. They are in the countryside, at the airport, in Halla's flat... while this is a device that is amusing the first time it is used - and is perhaps supposed to indicate Halla's feeling of increasingly being oppressed as the authorities get closer - the viewer ends up feeling oppressed too. Secondly, although brief mention is made of the benefits of development, the overall tenet of the film leans so heavily in the direction of environmentalism that it is very one-sided: for instance, the final shot of the band (oh, blessed relief!) sees their background of pristine Icelandic countryside transform into a dirty industrial landscape, and the last scene of the entire film has a group of bus passengers forced to abandon their vehicle and wade through flooding caused, I suppose, by climate change. I actually agree with the environmental argument, but in a work of fiction would prefer not to be preached at.

    On the other hand, a film with an active middle-aged woman as the main character is unusual. Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir is engaging as Halla (and also plays Halla's New Age sister). The Icelandic scenery is as bleakly magnificent as always - indeed, the film could almost act as a tourism advertisement for Iceland, if it did not also suggest visitors to the country will spend their time being wrongly arrested for crimes committed by local eco-warriors...