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'In the Land of Blood and Honey' review: Angelina Jolie's obviously saving the honey for the sequel

  • "Whomever drew these pictures has talent."
"Whomever drew these pictures has talent."
January 05, 2012|By Matt Pais | RedEye movie critic

** (out of four)

While most of the world pays more attention than necessary to Angelina Jolie’s personal life, her interest in hot-button celeb gossip terms such as “breakup” only applies if we’re talking about the breakup of Yugoslavia.

In her narrative feature writing-directing debut (Jolie also helmed the 2007 doc “A Place in Time”), Jolie does prove herself a capable filmmaker. Nothing about “In the Land of Blood and Honey” screams, “This is a first try for the star of ‘Salt.’”

Of course, the question I have to ask about this story in which a Serbian soldier (Goran Kostic) protects a Muslim woman (Cobie Smulders doppelganger Zana Marjanovic) during the early 1990s Bosnian War is, “What do we learn?” Jolie uses the same star-crossed love story that’s been told for centuries to depict a brutal but superficial concept of both the political situation and interpersonal relationships.

People will come out of “In the Land of Blood and Honey” emotionally exhausted from Jolie’s depictions of bombings, murders and rapes, but they won't feel like they know more about how and why all that happened. A movie about a specific event shouldn't feel so general.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U @mattpais

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