Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)





Caitlin Stasey, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis, Deniz Akdeniz, Phoebe Tonkin, Chris Pang, Ashleigh Cummings, Andrew Ryan, Colin Friels, Don Harbert, Olivia Pigeot, Stephen Bourke, Kelly Butler, Julia Yon, Dane Carson, Matthew Dale, Gary Quay, Michael Camilleri


Seven Australian teenage friends, Ellie (Caitlin Stasey), Corrie (Rachel Hurd-Wood), Kevin (Lincoln Lewis), Homer (Deniz Akdeniz), Fi (Phoebe Tonkin), Lee (Chris Pang), and Robyn (Ashleigh Cummings), decide to go camping to an isolate, deep in the woods camp site named "Hell". Returning home after a few days, they discover that their country has been overrun by a mysterious, invading army. When the hostile armed forces become alerted to the presence of them, the seven friends, along with a new recruit (Andrew Ryan), band together to fight the enemy.


Based on the "Tomorrow" book series by John Marsden, Tomorrow, When the War Began might be a bit clichéd at times but the right balance of action, and suspense makes it a quite entertaining ride.

Leaving out the fact that none of the characters look like real high school students, the character development is admirable. They spent a lot of time setting up the characters with voice overs, and even though films are supposed to show not tell, you'll get to know them, you'll care about them, and you'll root for them. While some of the characters doesn't grow much, Ellie and Homer's growth is impressive, and they could carry the film alone. 

With a very similar story to Red Dawn, the film manages to maintain suspense even outside the action scenes - generally exciting -, but, unfortunately, it focuses way too much on the teen-romance aspects instead of the survival aspect. 

There are some stupid and unrealistic things going on in here, like sneaking in quietly and then use a brick to smash a window, or switching off the radio in the most dangerous moment to talk about boys, or a group of teens actually able to steal a fuel track, and blow up the most important bridge - I mean, they could have sent an helicopter to kill them -, or the kind of explosion caused by the truck.

Anyway, the scenery is amazing, and the camera does a good job. I won't deny that better acting could have improved the quality of the film. While Caitlin Stasey is quite believable, delivering some fear, and emotion, the rest of the cast isn't brilliant, and Chris Pang, who plays Lee, is definitely the weakest here: he is a bit wooden.  


Ellie Linton: I have blood on my hands. I can't tell if what I did was right or wrong. I'd like to think it was to save my friends, or as part of some noble crusade to save my country. Really it just comes down to the fact that I valued my life over theirs. How many people is it okay to kill in order to keep me alive? At what point do we lose our souls, if we haven't already?

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