A group of young teenagers spend their summer playing war games in the woods. Armed with sticks, balloons, and their imagination, they essentially partake in a more hardcore version of capture the flag. As the game intensifies, the game becomes far more insidious, as the lines between make-believe and reality begin to blur. Jason Lapeyre & Robert Wilson's I Declare War is a conceptually impressive film that unfortunately never quite manages to deliver the promise of its concept. Early on, I Declare War does a great job at capturing youthful exuberance and imagination, seemlessly transitioning from reality to fantasy as these children play war games. As the games intensify, the exuberance is stripped away from these children as they quest for victory, with jealously and pride leading to this disintegration of innocence. I Declare War is not a bad film it just doesn't amount to all that much, perfectly complacent in delivering a film about the destructive powers of pride and jealousy. Personally, I was hoping the film would have larger political satire ambitions but it never achieves that level, though I feel that the intentions were there. The other problem with I Declare War is the acting is pretty awful at times, particularly the overacted Skinner, who is the character who pushes the child's game to insidious extremes. The directors are liable for these performances, unable to recognize these shortcomings and direct their actors into more subtle performances. I Declare War is a interesting concept centered around humanity's dark side and while it's far from bad, it could have been much more intelligent political satire.
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