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The War Zone book. Read 24 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Dragged from the evil influences he enjoyed in London when his family. . The War Zone is a British drama film written by Alexander Stuart, directed by Tim Roth in his directorial debut, and starring Ray Winstone, Tilda Swinton, Lara Belmont and Freddie Cunliffe. The film is based on Stuart's novel of the same name and takes a blunt. Compared by Time Out magazine to a contemporary Catcher in the Rye, Alexander Stuart's The War Zone was chosen as Best Novel of the Year for Britain's.

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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. A photo of children in bomb-torn Beirut hangs in . If you do read "The War Zone," buy the physical book, or find it at a library. Avoid the Kindle edition at all costs. Read more. 2 people found this. Hester Lacey talks to novelist Alexander Stuart about Tim Roth's new film of his book 'The War Zone', and the events that led him to write such a. A photo of children in bomb-torn Beirut hangs in the bedroom of Tom, the adolescent narrator of this taut, gripping novel by a young British writer. The war zone.


Sex is hunger and anger, never pleasure. It is deformed; the deformity of an organism bred in polluted water.

In Stuart's Britain, making money fast has eclipsed all notion of social responsibility, either to the present or to the future.

Incest, of course, is the epitome of turning inward, of withholding seed, of contaminating the next generation. Tom's family is gifted and rich.

The War Zone

The father is an architect who is building a hideous high-rise office building on the Thames in London. He makes his money by polluting; he doesn't want to live with the results; he and his wife have fled the neglected and abused city for a country retreat.

Full of presentiment--he has not yet discovered what is happening but he feels the rottenness--Tom is an unwilling transplant. There was life in London, even in being chased by a black gang.

Everything's falling apart, but still the city has splendor. The country, well, the country doesn't know what to do with itself anymore. It doesn't have a hope, it doesn't know how to be healthy. Its bucolic image is phony.

The river they are paddling on that morning has garbage floating in it and is suspiciously warm. They go quite naturally with Tom's journey and the flavor of his voice; first a premonition, then a discovery, which he resists, then a full realization, and finally a helpless involvement in the consequences. He is the passenger who sees smoke on a wing engine, sees flames, gives the alarm and perishes in the crash. There is an accidental view through a bathroom window of Jessie and their father bathing naked together.

There is Tom's hesitant confrontation with his sister, who is his closest friend.

There is her dismissal of the incident as a casual indiscretion, and later her defiant avowal. Finally there is a terrible eye-witness scene.

Jessie is tough, incandescent, a leader. Before the book ends, she will become a monster--and so, less consciously, will Tom--but in these earlier stages, she is much an orphan as he is. An orphan, that is, of the have-it-all-now social denial of her father and his generation.

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For the father--the blandness with which Stuart depicts him is the most vivid of portraits--incest is the ultimate abdication of parenthood. For Jessie, in flames, it is a desperate clamor against such abdication. The despair is evoked in a moving night scene on the beach where Tom and Jessie have gone with her friends in a local biker gang. Goaded by Tom's insistent questions, Jessie turns on him: "I told you, I want to go further than all the way. Nothing's enough, you know that, we've had this conversation.

As a result he becomes obsessed with proving it is true.


What was interesting was how I found myself empathizing with Tom this time around. However, my latest viewing brought Tom into startling focus.

He is suffering in silence, suffocated by being the only one who will acknowledge it. He hates his father. There is a harrowing scene halfway through the film that reveals otherwise, in which the physical and mental toll on Jessie is shown in unflinching detail. According to Roth, he feared Winstone would leave the production after shooting this scene be cautious, link has spoilers.

Before appearing in The War Zone Belmont had never acted. Jessie is someone who has incapacitated herself just to cope. All she knows of navigating the world is bargaining with her body. During a scene where Tom confronts her she apologizes by asking him if he wants to hurt her, then hands him a lighter.

In interviews Tilda Swinton said all she contributed to The War Zone was her post-pregnancy body, having given birth to twins four weeks before production.

She is downplaying her contribution.

Most of her scenes involve her checking in with Tom. You immediately know how she will react. As I mentioned before, The War Zone is ruled by its silences rather than what characters actually say.

Because of this so many interactions and details are left open for interpretation.


What I gathered is that Tom feels angry and disgusted with his sister but protective all the same.Why does Dad do this to Jess? The reason why? In part this may reflect the author's failing control, but mainly it is the wreckage in this story of a society that has crashed.

Incest, of course, is the epitome of turning inward, of withholding seed, of contaminating the next generation.

Finally there is a terrible eye-witness scene. The bunker itself — a concrete box — no doubt dates from WWII, but there is something medieval or dungeon-like about it, too, with its narrow horizontal slits through which to scan the horizon for enemies.

FAYE from South Carolina
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