Welcome to Sarajevo

Much anticipated at the 1997 Cannes festival, where it was received with quiet disappointment, this film by Michael Winterbottom provides yet another cinematic perspective on the war in Bosnia—the most tepid contribution to the genre to date. Combining fiction, news footage, and reenactments of actual events, the film tells the story of a British journalist's crusade to bring world attention to the plight of Sarajevo's orphans. Winterbottom has good intentions but flawed judgment, most apparent in his strategy of validating his humanitarian message with star presence—Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei in supporting roles, to which they bring little but the box-office value of their names. Alternating focus between the stress-driven lives of jaded journalists, of whom Harrelson is one, and the central character's remarkably unengaging obsession with saving one orphan, Winterbottom squanders the potential impact of the film's many truly shocking and heartrending images. In English and subtitled Croatian. 103 min.

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