Movie Review: I Declare War

Published on May 9th, 2013 in: Canadian Content, Current Faves, Movie Reviews, Movies |

By Brad Henderson


Regardless of your gender, I Declare War will take you back to your childhood fantasies. The film opens with children playing a war game and the rules are quickly established. These two teams are deep in the woods playing Capture The Flag, but things change when some soldiers decide to take their lives in their own hands and defy their Generals.

During the film we are sucked into their world, becoming one of them, a solider. Hiding, crawling, always on the defense, and feeling like part of the squad. Waiting for the attack and watching your friends’ backs in hopes the enemy is not lurking behind you and trying to flank your troops. This is the level of realism I Declare War presents and it holds up until the end credits roll.

I Declare War definitely feeds into nostalgia and childhood imagination. We can all recall the silly and playful things we did when we were little: picking up a rock and thinking it was a grenade, using sticks as guns, or even having a tea party with your stuffed animals. We all remember how far our imaginations took us into the safest place in the world: our minds. I Declare War tackles a popular childhood game but also imbues it with a strong sense of believability.

We become engulfed in this war and forget that we’re watching a film, becoming a kid again almost instantly. When a film traps you and you become one with it, something is being done correctly. Normally we get sucked in to the story or a character, but how often do we feel like we are part of the film and making decisions for ourselves? I Declare War does that.

The film has an amazingly strong cast, which consists strictly of child actors probably no older than 15 or 16. The kids are diverse, but they all play their roles exceptionally well. The dialogue is so real; you will remember having the same conversations with your friends. From ridiculous questions and playful banter, to jealousy, angst, and animosity, the film explores everything that you probably did or experienced as a child. This may guarantee a smile or sadness, but either way it will be a good feeling.

The most important aspect of the film is that it catches those special moments. You again see what you saw as a child. We haven’t had a film that captures childhood memories and fantasies in a while the way I Declare War does.

I Declare War hits Canadian theaters on May 10 and home video on June 25, distributed through Phase 4 Films.

Look for a US theatrical and home video release from Drafthouse Films this fall. For more details, check out the film’s Facebook page.

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