Anyone who has made the acquaintance of a dedicated foreign war correspondent will recognize the pathologies at work in A Private War, the true story of legendary Times of London reporter Marie Colvin.
As played by Rosamund Pike — her voice lowered to the point where it seems to be coming from the bottom of a dry well — Colvin is addicted to the horrifying thrills of the battlefield the way so many other film characters these days are hooked on opiates and booze. Yet long after her heart has let up pumping gallons of adrenaline to her extremities, the debilitating effects of PTSD set in, haunting her dreams both sleeping and waking.
Pike's is a pulse-pounding performance. Unfortunately, it's embedded in a film that offers no real story arc but simply takes the character from one living hell to another. Colvin hurls herself headlong into an endless series conflicts, endangering not only herself for everyone around her. When she's not dodging bullets, she's haunting hotel lobbies and hobnobbing with fellow war scribes — bedding many of them with battlefield-like fury.
It's a deadly, exhausting cycle that offers little reward for the viewer other than a cavalcade of atrocities leading to an inevitable, tragic conclusion
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