Review: ‘War Witch’ is a genre benchmark

March 6, 2013 • Entertainment

This image released by Item 7 shows Rachel Mwanza in a scene from “War Witch.” (AP Photo/Item 7)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A grave 12-year-old African girl, abducted from her village by vicious armed rebels and forced to wage war as a child soldier, guides the viewer through the horrors of Canadian director Kim Nguyen’s engrossing Oscar-nominated drama “War Witch.” Managing to be neither sentimental nor sensationalistic, the film tells its story from the heart, and from the simple, straightforward viewpoint of young heroine Komona, warmly played by the talented Rachel Mwanza in her screen debut.

Certainly, watching a little girl live through events that far exceed most adults’ nightmares is not easy, and only Komona’s indomitable courage and will to survive make the journey bearable. As the off-screen narrator, she tells her unborn baby the story of how she became a child soldier. The real-life horrors she recounts fold into a smooth, dream-like screenplay that doesn’t require a lot of on-screen blood and gore to describe what’s going on. Despite its extreme cruelty, Komona’s story is told with commendable delicacy and reserve, if those terms can be Login to read more

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