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Films: Storm * * *

(drama. Starring Kerry Fox, Anamaria Marinca, Drazen Kühn, Kresimir Mikic and Stephen Dillane. Directed by Hans-Christian Schmid. cert 18)

Directed by Requiem's Hans-Christian Schmid, Storm begins with sunny scenes of a man playing with his children on a beach. But as well as being a husband and doting father, this man, Goran Duric (Drazen Kühn), is a former Yugoslav Army commander and his past is just about to catch up with him ... Three years later and Duric's trial is going in front of the International Crimes Tribunal at The Hague.

He's accused of crimes against humanity, carried out during the Bosnian War in the 1990s, and prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) is drafted in for the final days of the case.

Her boss, Keith Haywood (Stephen Dillane), informs her that Duric's political career will be put on hold, as they're sending him to prison for 10 years. The evidence is all in, the key witness is at hand, and Haywood tells Maynard it'll be a "piece of cake", which, of course, means it's all going to go terribly wrong. Sure enough, when the prosecution's chief witness, Alen Hajdarevic (Kresimir Mikic), is caught out in a lie by Duric's lawyer, it looks like Duric is going to walk free.

But in the chaos that follows, Maynard meets Hajdarevic's sister, Mira (Anamaria Marinca). A chance comment makes her realise Mira may save the prosecution's case, if she can convince her to talk. Mira has made a new life in Germany and has tried to forget what happened to her during the war, but Maynard persuades her to testify, promising her safety and justice. But after raising her head above the parapet, risking her family's and her own safety, there's a chance Mira is going to be sacrificed in favour of larger political wranglings -- and Maynard is caught between the two.

While it's an interesting watch, and Fox and Marinca do a good job, the film is let down by some very clunky dialogue and is strangely lacking in the weight of the events it aims to shed light on. What could have been a gripping political thriller instead looks and feels more like a Sunday night TV drama, and probably would have worked better as just that. HHHII