I Declare War: Review

Image from: http://www.downtownindependent.com
Winner of the 2012 Audience Award at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, I sought out I Declare War after hearing mostly positive things about it.

Set on a hot summers’ day, it focuses on a game of capture the flag between the local neighbourhood kids. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, and as reality and imagination become blurred, things begin to take a turn toward the dangerous.

Earning itself instant comparisons to Lord of the Flies, Stand By Me and to a degree Battle Royale, the film’s main problem is that it’s nowhere near as good as any of the above.

I “get” what the film is trying to achieve and children with an aptitude for violence, real or not, does feel very current.

It’s portrayal of young men is particularly interesting; cruel, fiscal, aggressive and easily led astray by the opposite sex, the film works best when exploring these ideas.

Despite this however, the film didn’t work as well for me as I’d hoped.

Firstly, all but one of the characters annoyed the hell out of me, and the only likeable character is hardly in the film and doesn’t speak.

After half an hour of whinging, the corny dialogue and even cornier performances, I was ready to take a “blood” filled water ballon to the chest just so I could leave the game and go home. I stuck with it though, hoping it would at least have a satisfying pay off, but it didn’t; the film failed to prove any real point.

Whereas it’s shot nicely and is a great example of film making on an independent level, I Declare War doesn’t quite realise its potential. It didn’t shock me and for a film with these themes it should have. Overall it’s pretty lackluster and extremely disappointing.

It’s available in a number of art house cinemas or alternatively you can rent it now on iTunes if you want to judge for yourself.




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