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15 days to watch
209 Ratings

On War

De la guerre

Directed by Bertrand Bonello
France, 2008
  • French
  • English


After spending a regrettable night in a coffin, Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric) decides to withdraw to a remote, mysterious place, the Kingdom. He is welcomed by Uma (Asia Argento), for whom the attaining of pleasure and joy amounts to a war to be waged against the modern world.

Our take

Nocturama auteur Bertrand Bonello aligned some of the biggest stars in French cinema for this parable of human nature and artistic creation. A farce with welcome shades of darkness, On War follows Mathieu Amalric, curiously playing a cipher of Bonello, immersing into the world of a mysterious cult.

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Critics reviews

In this Gallic Esalen/Burning Man/boot camp, Bertrand comes close to the sublime—particularly during a far-out rave sequence, in which each devotee forms not a writhing mass of bodies but resolutely remains a solitary gyrator—only to teeter too close to losing his mind. Though not all of On War seizes the viewer with the same force as that bizarre dance piece, the film proves Bonello’s gifts at both satirizing and sympathizing with a character adrift, who may or may not be a version of himself.
April 28, 2015
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On War" tries to plunge deep into its heart of darkness and winds up more in the vicinity of its navel. Casting a very game Mathieu Amalric as his filmmaking alter ego, Bertrand Bonello offers up an extended rumination on life, liberty and man’s relationship to nature, but for all its visual wonders, which are estimable, the film’s initially amusing self-awareness gives way to self-seriousness and an impenetrable narrative rather too early in the game.
May 17, 2008
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