Provokr Pick: A Private War

Rosamund Pike Stars as Battlefield Journalist

BY: Zak Wojnar; Editor Claire Connors

The true story of journalist Marie Colvin is one of immeasurable bravery, integrity, commitment, and righteous determination. In 2001, she lost her eye in a rocket blast in Sri Lanka, but that didn’t stop her from searching for the truth and holding people accountable for their war crimes and atrocities against humanity, no matter the personal risk. Her incredible story has been turned into a movie by Matthew Heineman, the auteur behind documentaries like Cartel Land and City of Ghosts, to which A Private War could be considered a companion piece.

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Hostiles) stars as Colvin. Based on the trailer, she is rugged, fearless, and badass, embodying the traits that made Colvin the best there is at what she did. Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones, Captain America: The First Avenger) co-stars as Colvin’s romantic interest, but it’s Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey, My Dinner with Herve) as Paul Conroy who truly invigorates Colvin with her deep-rooted desire for investigative justice. The movie plays with the idea that she’s most at home in the middle of a war zone, seeking out answers where few dare to tread; while soldiers are armed with guns and grenades, she carries pens, paper, audio recorders, and a camera, and is considered to be far more dangerous by those who want their dirty little war to remain private, away from the judgmental eyes of the public.

Marie Colvin should be a hero to journalists and global history enthusiasts everywhere. It’s entirely possible that her reporting changed history forever. Without her reporting from the region, it’s possible people never would have known about the Syrian government’s unjustified attacks on civilian populations, murdering innocent people just trying to avoid a senselessly violent war. Whether or not the Western powers give a damn about the knowledge they possess remains to be seen. The Syrian government is backed by the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, while the rebels have ostensible support from the United States – support which has all but dried up following the election of Donald Trump. With Trump firmly in Putin’s pocket, the conflict continues with the Syrian government all but crushing the rebels, save for Trump’s benign attacks (such as the U.S.-led military strikes following the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons) which do more to save face than actually turn the tide of the increasingly perpetual conflict.

We are living in history, and innocent people are dying while the U.S. President capitulates to the wishes of his Russian superior. Marie Colvin sought to find ways to stop the bloodshed, and this movie continues her mission, exposing hard truths that powerful men are trying to hide, and to which an apathetic public may not even react. And yet, the pursuit of justice can never end, as true journalists are conditioned to never give in to the foreboding specter of mass indifference. The brave aren’t so because they win; they’re brave because they try.

A Private War is in theaters now.