Movie Review: A War is almost too measured in its treatment of military protocol

One of the four films destined to lose the foreign-language Oscar to Son Of Saul, Denmark’s A War sees writer-director Tobias Lindholm (A Hijacking) once again juxtaposing a simple title with a complex situation. The war in question is the one in Afghanistan, to which Denmark sent 9,500 soldiers between 2002 and 2013. Claus Michael Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk, who also starred in A Hijacking) commands a unit that spends most of its time protecting innocent Afghan civilians from Taliban attacks. The film spends much of its first half-hour or so establishing Claus as a thoroughly decent guy who’s genuinely concerned about the men he sends out on sometimes lethal patrols; when one of them experiences post-traumatic stress after seeing a friend blown apart from by an IED, Claus gives him pencil-pushing duties for a while, and later even accompanies him in the field. However, that means that …

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