The script seems to be the thing holding the former back with various actors floundering despite impressive CVs. Even the endlessly watchable Frain struggles with a lot of the early dialogue exchanges. Things do improve marginally around the mid-point when Mira and Simon enjoy some downtime and seem to build up a little chemistry. However, any characterisation is lost again when the plot recommences back in Afghanistan. It does so with a neat twist that reframes the potential conversation surrounding the film's politics, and would be far more admirable if it followed through on engaging with it. Instead, it ultimately feels a lot like a handy plot contrivance - of which it is the only really successful example - rather than an active attempt to undercut genre conventions.
That Mina remains a strong female with agency is to be applauded, especially in a cinematic setting that is predominantly populated by Y-chromosomes. That she sorely lacks character development, however, is a real shame and hinders the audience's ability to invest in her plight. More problematic still are some of the technical niggles that betray the film's small budget; dialogue is often lost in the back of frames and the editing rushes one minute and drags the next. If these had been minor quibbles in the service of a strong screenplay, they would have been forgiveable, but regrettably they compound far deeper issues. Conceptually, Born of War sounds like a winner, but in reality more resembles the ravaged ruins of its war-torn setting.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson