Storm Hans-Christian Schmidt

Storm Hans-Christian Schmidt
Initially, the prospect of watching yet another protracted rant about wartime atrocities, likely to feature endless, tedious exposition and a singular, droning voice idealistically preaching, seemed like an exercise in self-abuse, even though it was a Film Movement release and, thankfully, had nothing to do with the over-discussed WWII. Rather, Storm dips into the Hague's investigation of the Bosnian War, something I've only written about six or seven times in the last year, versus the 30 or so films about evil Nazis I have extrapolated on. But what distinguishes this title from the herd is that while the central plot, wherein Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox), a prosecutor for the Hague Tribunal, investigates the reason why a Bosnian witness lied on the stand about a Serbian warlord and later committed suicide, only scratches the surface of this sharp and complicated legal thriller. You see, Hannah struggles in the workplace, working her ass off, but standing still while men effortlessly move ahead. She doesn't dote on this ― nor does the film ― but it provides context and fuel to later plot developments, compounded by the male stronghold of Serbian war criminals, to make an incisive point about overly simplistic and self-serving male systemic thinking. Unembellished visually, Storm unfolds without patronizing framing, with that faux-vérité style common in modern BBC miniseries. It mixes Hannah's home life with an older bureaucrat with the seemingly hopeless aforementioned case, putting everything into motion for a thoroughly riveting and intense second half, where the sister of the deceased witness, Mira (Anamaria Marinca), reluctantly brings new evidence into the light. Between Fox and Marinca's detailed, thoughtful performances, an urgent "bigger picture" observation about cause rather than symptom and genuinely intelligent writing there is little negative to say about this release, aside from the short film included, entitled Toyland, which is about ― you guessed it ― WWII. (Film Movement)