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Kids Battle in Epic Fashion in “I Declare War”

For a group of neighborhood kids, their friendly game of capture the flag, in which rocks are grenades, trees are control towers, and sticks are submachine guns becomes serious, as the quest for victory turns the friendly proceedings into an all-out fight to the finish. This is the premise behind Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson’s film I Declare War, which was a hit at last year’s Fantastic Fest. The film blends make-believe and reality, turning a friendly game in the forest into something altogether more epic and explosive. The cast is entirely made up of young and undiscovered talent, who will likely receive some notice after appearing in a war movie.

I Declare War, picked up by Drafthouse Films, has been making the festival rounds, and will finally be getting a limited theatrical release on August 30th. You can watch it right now on VOD, though, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you. Are you excited for this movie? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

I Declare War

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8 comments

  • I thought it would be something like ‘Son of Rambow’ (2007), but this doesn’t look like the word ‘charming’ would be used to describe it. It actually looks a bit intense with the blend between reality and make-believe. I was slightly unnerved.

  • I’ve recently saw “Terminator 2″ with James Cameron’s commentary. He stresses strongly that teenager John Connor never shoots a gun and never points a gun at anyone in the movie. I kinda see his point.

    “I Declare War” looks fun, but it probably must be rated R or something.

  • I think that there are going to be a lot of mixed feelings on this one, along with some very un-mixed, extreme reactions to the negative. It will be interesting once the media gets hold of this one, with all of the already existing concerns a la children and violence, particularly gun violence. Some of the imagery, even in the trailer, hit a little too close to recent realities.
    It’s difficult to grasp, from the trailer alone, what the tone of this movie will be. If done right, it could be a really fun exploration of imagination. It hails back to the days when you would go outside and find the perfect shaped stick that would become a wizard’s staff, a crossbow, a sword (I tended more towards fantasy than war, but the idea’s the same), back before you could just pick up a controller, press some buttons, watch an avatar run around with a perfectly rendered Kalashnikov, and completely eliminate the need for an imagination. I like that idea of going back to that, layering it with the perspective of the imagined world, but if the tone isn’t handled right, it could end up feeling offputting or even downright disturbing. Realistic depictions of prepubescent children murdering each other is not an image I turn to for a fun time (and I’d worry about somebody who does).
    Anyway, I look forward to seeing the actual result. Judging by the festival responses it’s received, I’m inclined to be optimistic. Here’s hoping this turns out to be a masterful celebration of childhood imagination (and then they do a sequel where the kids have a wizards and warriors adventure).

  • I get the impression that a few people are not getting this movie. It is really quite brilliant and very entertaining. And a nice reminder/counter point to the Hollywood blockbusters – about really good indie films. As for the questions and concerns about violence, those of us who live in glass houses shouldn’t through stones. And this would apply to just about every person in North America. We created our violent culture, we can’t stick our collective heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t exist – or isn’t going to influence movies, books, art, kids…..I Declare War is something of a parable, an allegory, not to be taken at face value but to stimulate thought and discussion. Wow, when did the last blockbuster ever do that? And it sounds and looks like real kids – when was the last film ever to do that?
    It’s a good movie. See it.

  • @Buck Hill
    I’m not sure if you’re deliberately trying to come off quite as judgmental as you’re managing to sound. I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but…
    First off, nobody in this particular comment thread has condemned this movie, so accusing us of “sticking our heads in the sand” simply because we’ve admitted that the imagery was, on face value, somewhat unnerving, and has the potential to be disturbing and controversial. And the whole “glass houses” comment, well what’s your point there exactly? In what way are you saying we created our “violent culture”? I’m honestly not sure what you mean, do you mean America’s obsession with guns (that can’t be it, because you say that every person in North America is responsible, and last time I checked, there were two sides, divided pretty much down the middle)? Violent video games? Just general rampant crime? There’s violence all over the world, in case you hadn’t checked, so I’m really at a loss for what kind of point you’re making when you suggest that everyone in North America should give up their right to criticize, or even question violence in a movie because we’ve all created this “violent culture”. I welcome your clarification.
    Anyway, to reiterate what I said in my very first comment, I do plan to see this movie, and I look forward to finding out if it’s as good as it could be. If you’ve already seen it, congratulations, you already know, but try not to spit all over people for having doubts just because they haven’t had a chance to see it yet. It doesn’t get released outside of festivals until the end of the month.

  • […] So, you’re well aware of the work they put out (and maybe have even visited the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas), but did you know that your friends at Mondo are getting into the movie business as well? Mondo and the folks at Drafthouse Films (Four Lions, The FP, Miami Connection) have joined forces to bring you I Declare War, a new film about the most extreme game of capture the flag ever played. Seriously. Check out the movie’s website if you don’t believe me, and read our preview coverage of the movie’s trailer too. […]