On a seemingly average day, a busload of young soldiers is sent to a remote location in the countryside and given a macabre task: the execution of a number of civilians. Dzoni, a green recruit, initially objects, but as he moves from one killing to the next, he is swept up by the spectre of military authority and quickly becomes desensitized by the apparently routine nature of his task. As he nears the end of his assignment, the quiet horror of the day slowly begins to affect him, forcing a painful reconciliation with his actions. Set in an unspecified time of conflict in the Balkans, director Vladimir Perisic’s highly attuned and unsentimental lens captures the psychological toll of war on its participants and the universal struggle of all soldiers to reconcile morality with action.
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A spare but not taunt look at the business of killing the enemy. It is simply unpleasant business for the soldiers assigned to execute van loads of "terrorists" and we know early on that a new recruit will give up his scruples in order to become a member of his platoon.
I liked the pace of this film for the first 20 minutes: a languorous sunny day, a run-down barracks deep in the country, seven bored soldiers barely wondering why they've been brought to this place, yet dutifully unloading ammunition from the bus. Then the executions begin and I learned absolutely nothing new about how being a lonely young man longing for approval tends to trump individual conscience. The film appears to be building towards tension but then deflates into the banality of evil , and perhaps that's the point. If it is, you've seen it illustrated in far better films.
This films captures, beautifully, metaphorically, sadly, the "accidental" horror one can find yourself in by joining the military out of "having nothing else to do" and the consequences on your soul. It is what drives the suicide rate in our present-day military.