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Croatian filmmaker Vinko Bresan directs the political drama Svjedoci (Witnesses), based on the novel Alabaster Sheep by Jurica Pavicic about real-life war crimes committed during the Serbo-Croatian war. The film meditates on the tragedy belying conflicts that pit neighbor against neighbor - in this case, the Croatians against the Serbs in the early 1990s. The picture opens with three Croatian soldiers opting to intimidate and strong-arm a Serbian man by burning his house to the ground; instead, their plan goes a bit too far and he is brutally murdered, his daughter kidnapped. At this point,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Spanning a year beginning in the summer of 1984, The Witnesses offers the considerable satisfaction of a beautifully acted ensemble piece built on the foundation of a serious subject%u2014the dawn of the AIDS crisis%u2014handled just so."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"More than a thriller, the film is a portrait of the passions that drive ordinary people to kill and even worse, to accept the killing as something honorable."
‑ Marta Barber, Miami Herald
"Bristling with emotional intensity, this is far superior to earlier AIDS-related dramas."
‑ Tom Dawson, BBC.com
"Téchiné captures the changing attitudes of the times but some characters feel too peripheral."
‑ Patrick Peters, Empire Magazine
"The occasional voiceover from Béart and a slightly mournful score from Philippe Sarde offer some sense of lament, but mostly this unfolds in the moment and is urgent and engaging."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"revisits Kurosawa's Rashoman structure"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"A lively, timely flashback to the early days of AIDS with this character-driven drama."
‑ Ian Johnston, Total Film
"Witnesses takes us back to the turmoil in the Balkans. But the movie is not directly about the war. It's a cleverly told murder mystery."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"An engaging if somewhat inchoate drama set in the early years of Aids."
‑ Karl French, Financial Times
"Techine never lapses into morbid sentimentality and it's interesting for a film to put the horror of AIDs in the 1980s in the perspective of a viewpoint 20-odd years on."
‑ Tim Evans, Sky Movies
More reviews for Witnesses on Rotten Tomatoes