I Declare War is a good indie about kids whose game of “war,” played in the forest near their home, turns very serious. Perhaps not quite as serious as the trailer would suggest — while kids are running around with real guns in their hands this is no Red Dawn scenario. Rather, the film lets us see what is in the head of each kid as they fight in the game. So a stick becomes a rifle or a bazooka thanks to the imagination of each player.
While the weapons are imaginary, the power struggle and final stakes are very real — this game will be the way that many of the players start to grow up. I really enjoyed I Declare War when it played Fantastic Fest. In part because it is a weird, entertaining movie, but also because it deals with those moments of maturity in a way that really works for the characters. Check out the new trailer below. Read More »
The film I Declare War, in which a group of kids play capture the flag in the woods, with imagined weapons seen as real tools of war, and the consequences rendered dire personal terms. The concept is good and directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson execute it well; the film took the Audience Award after playing at Fantastic Fest last September.
Now Drafthouse Films has announced plans to distribute the film in the US. Drafthouse Films CEO/Founder Tim League said in a press release, “Armed with an arsenal of extremely talented child actors and combining shades of Full Metal Jacket and Lord Of The Flies, Jason and Rob have created a one-of-a-kind action film that we couldn’t be more excited to handle in the US.” Read More »
With a shock of blond hair, braces, and a physique that has yet to even begin thinking about filling out, PK is an unlikely general. He’s a relatively tiny kid, maybe eleven or twelve years old, and the undisputed champion of War amongst kids at school. In I Declare War, PK (Gage Munroe) plays by the rules in games of capture the flag: two teams, two immovable bases, gunshots incapacitate for ten seconds, grenades “kill.” A fan of the movie Patton and a student of war history, PK believes in the rules of the game, and the rules of engagement, and winning.
His game of War is the same game many of us played as children, with sticks standing in for guns, and a give and take between honor and rule-bending dictating the outcome of a fight. But in this film, the combat is rendered as real, with splashes of blood, and hands full of real pistols and automatic rifles. When the bouncy, imaginative Frost (Alex Cardillo) finds a particularly choice tree branch, we see it in its natural state for a few shots, but the next time it appears the branch has transformed into what Frost sees: an olive drab bazooka.
The “game as realism” approach of I Declare War is the hook, but the reason to stick around is the way that writer/co-director Jason Lapeyre, who directed with Robert Wilson, weaves enduring ideas about friendship, betrayal and adolescence into the film. Their movie won the audience award last night at Fantastic Fest, and it’s easy to see why. The scenario transitions seamlessly from playground fluff to effective exploration of the causalities incurred as one kid follows his drive to secure victory at any cost. Read More »