“What did you expect?
Should I thank you?”
Mira Arendt, war crimes survivor speaking to official at the Hague.
First and foremost, “Storm” is a crackling political thriller set in contemporary Europe. No, you won’t find big-budget Hollywood special effects here. But this is a tale worthy of Hitchcock in which an innocent survivor of Serbian ethnic cleansing finds her entire family suddenly in danger wherever they turn.
When I popped the preview disc into my DVD player, I didn’t move for 103 minutes. The storyline and direction is that well crafted. In the crime-drama genre, this is a “procedural”—showing us the risks and heartbreaking choices that arise in the day-to-day completion of a major human-rights case. At times, you might be reminded of “Law and Order” on a global scale.
Like “Law and Order,” I had to remind myself that this is a fictional story. There are so many specific references to ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and to Hague procedures that I wondered, at first, just how close to the headlines we might be. As the story continues, we realize that this also is a harsh critique of efforts to politicize war crimes and, sometimes, to sweep the most painful details under the rug.
But there’s so much more in this film!
That’s why we’re strongly recommending “Storm.” It’s not only thrilling to watch and enlightening as a glimpse into European political intrigue. The film also is a powerful story about the overall cost of such investigations in the lives of survivors.
Unfortunately, there are millions of survivors of crimes against humanity all around the world. Sometimes, as Americans, it’s easy to say: Why don’t they all come forward?
“Storm” answers that question. Yes, this is fiction. Mira Arendt’s case is not a real case. But her story is truthful on a deep level.
In this review of the film, I don’t want to spoil the twists and turns of the hair-raising plot, but I can say this: Mira passionately hopes that the Serbian architect of these crimes will be punished at the Hague. When events in the case take a shocking, tragic turn—and seem to be heading in the criminal’s favor—Mira finally decides to come forward and reveal her own evidence.
At that point, Mira’s life transforms from her quiet, happy existence with her husband and young son—flashing her back into the months of torture and murder she survived. Suddenly, the world’s political factions also come crashing in around her.
That’s why I know ReadTheSpirit readers will find this a film well worth experiencing. Global injustice is close to the heart of men and women with active spiritual lives. We want to help heal the world. We want to stick up for victims. “Storm” shows us eloquently that there’s often a huge cost when we lift up the downtrodden. Our responsibility extends far beyond merely encouraging these men and women to stand up for themselves. We need to be standing with them for many years afterward.
Click Here to order a copy of “Storm” from Amazon.
ALSO: ReadTheSpirit encourages new directions in media and Film Movement is an innovative model for connecting independent and foreign films with American viewers. In recent years, Film Movement has distributed films from two dozen countries. Individual films are marketed through Amazon and other retailers, but Film Movement also offers a DVD-of-the-Month option that’s cheaper if you’re interested in the overall ongoing mix of films they distribute. So, here’s a link to learn more about those options from Film Movement.
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