The War Zone (1999)

running time 99 mins

Ray Winstone as 'Dad' in "The War Zone",
with Lara Belmont (left) as his daughter, Jessie.

Based on the novel by Alexander Stuart
Written by Alexander Stuart
Directed by Tim Roth
Produced by Sarah Radclyffe and Eric Abraham

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The War Zone is a tough and uncompromising film about the incestuous relationship between a father and daughter.

Tim Roth recently spoke about Ray Winstone's performance in The War Zone in an interview with Shane Danielsen in 'Sight and Sound' magazine.

"When he [Ray] first phoned me up and asked to have a go at it, I had my doubts. But he came in and said, "You know, it'd be great to play a good guy for a change." And I just thought, he's got it, he understands. Because the bottom line is that this guy doesn't see himself as a villain. And Ray just nailed it. He's one of the best actors I've seen."

(from 'Sight & Sound' August 1999, British Film Institute)

Ray said the following about the role in a recent interview:

"I just wanted to make him a normal dad.... It's the nearest I've ever played to me and that's why it hurt".

(from 'The Times Magazine' 21 August 1999)

The War Zone has been awarded the Best Picture Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival 1999 and was nominated for European Film 1999 (It lost to 'All About My Mother'). Ray was been nominated for the European Actor of the Year Award for his performance in this film. Tim Roth won the Fassbinder European Discovery Award for this film.

You can visit the Official War Zone site by clicking here.

I'm afraid I was disappointed with 'The War Zone'. I felt that the story dealt with the sensitive and important subject matter in a very hysterical way - more like a soap opera - incorporating murder and self-mutilation as well as incest. I also found the elementary film-school imagery irritating (a house with opaque windows, a baby born in a car crash involving all the family etc). The supposed protagonist, Tom, is a very sullen and unappealing character and the actor only had one facial expression. However all the other performances were first-rate. Ray is excellent as ever, although I don't feel he was stretched as an actor in this performance - Alys

Dad Ray Winstone
Jessie Lara Belmont
Tom Freddie Cunliffe
Mum Tilda Swinton

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