A Private War Review: A Searing Account of the Human Cost of Conflict

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A Private War Review: A Searing Account of the Human Cost of Conflict

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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t’s not often that actresses are enlisted for a role that demands them to erase traces of their arresting physicality, to relegate their beauty to the background. That is a luxury reserved for male actors, whose emotional, physical, vocal, and even existential transformations are consistently valorised – think Bradley Cooper in A Star In Born.

But in Matthew Heineman’s debut feature A Private War, Rosamund Pike gets that incredible chance; essaying the complex and conflicted legacy of late Sunday Times war correspondent, Marie Colvin. And Pike –  a severely under-tapped actor – runs with it, channelling the psyche and physical turmoil of a woman who thrives between bravery and bravado in an electrically charged performance. The actress invokes Colvin with such invigorating honesty that it’s impossible to keep reminding yourself that Pike is an actress playing a character and not the other way around. It’s best evidenced in how eerily the British actress replicates Colvin’s voice and her Long Island accent down pat.

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