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This movie is a bit of a special one. It only features child characters and actors in it, making this truly a movie that's seen and told through the eyes of a child, which also causes the line between reality and fantasy to blur at times.

Basically it's the movie every 10-year old boy (or tomboy) would have loved to have made. It's a movie about a bunch of young kids playing war in the woods, with fake guns and sticks. And that's all this movie is about really. It has a very simple setup but sometimes simplicity works best, when the right idea and intentions are all there.

Of course you can read as much into this movie as you want to and see all of the story elements and characters in this movie as allegories for something deeper and more profound but to be frank, I was only taking this movie as one about a bunch of kids playing pretend, without any deeper meanings behind it.

The movie works out because it's taking a very serious approach to its subject. Even though there of course is no real war going on, with real bullets and grenades being used, the movie still acts as if it's the case, just like kids playing pretend would do. And it's not only just treating its main subject seriously but also its characters. It's hard to write for kids once you're an adult but this movie seems to do a pretty good job with it. The kids all behave like real kids and nothing about any of the situations or dialog ever feels forced. It's therefor also real easy to identify yourself with at least some of the characters.

It does in fact, in more than one way, makes you feel like a 10-year old boy again. Playing in the woods with your friends, on a free afternoon, with nothing else on your mind other than beating the 'enemy'.

This perhaps still sounds like a pretty weird and unusual movie to some but all of it works out surprisingly well. Everything about the movie feels right. The atmosphere, the settings, the characters, the dialog, the rules they play by. But by saying that everything feels right, I'm still not saying that it's a perfect movie though. I liked how all of the kids in this movie were distinctive enough looking ones, with each their very own personalities but it's not like you ever truly get to know them. Besides, not everyone was rightly cast. I for instance wasn't too impressed with the young actor who played PK. He's supposed to be the leader of the bunch but he looked too small and young and really wasn't charismatic enough. Other than that, I'm not complaining about the acting in this movie though. It simply was superb, especially considering these are all still some very young actors, who also had to do lots of physical stuff while conveying emotions and deliver their lines.

It's about as good as a movie about a bunch of young kids, running through the woods, playing pretend can get. Recommendable for everyone who once was a young (tom)boy!

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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