November 13th, 2009



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Still of Paz Vega in TriageStill of Colin Farrell and Paz Vega in TriageStill of Colin Farrell in TriageStill of Colin Farrell and Danis Tanovic in TriageStill of Colin Farrell in TriageStill of Christopher Lee in Triage

The wife of a photojournalist sets out to discover why he came home from a recent assignment without his colleague.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.5/10 (4,802 voted)

Director: Danis Tanovic

Stars: Colin Farrell, Jamie Sives, Paz Vega

Mark and David are best friends, photo journalists going from war to war. In the spring of 1988, they're in Kurdistan, at an isolated mountain clinic, waiting for an offensive. David's had enough - he wants to go home to Dublin to his pregnant wife. He leaves, with Mark promising to follow in a few days. A week or so later, Mark's home after being wounded, but David's not been heard from. Mark's slow recovery and uncharacteristic behavior alarm his girlfriend, Elena, who asks her grandfather, a Spanish psychologist, to come to Dublin to help. Are there things the carefree and detached journalist is bottling up? Is he a casualty of war?

Writers: Danis Tanovic, Scott Anderson

Colin Farrell - Mark Walsh
Jamie Sives - David
Paz Vega - Elena Morales
Kelly Reilly - Diane
Branko Djuric - Dr. Talzani
Mozaffar Shafeie - Talzani's Assitant
Kae Bahar - Wounded Man (as Karzan Sherabayani)
Luis Callejo - Pesh Merga Commander
Alex Spijksma - Pesh Merga Sergeant (as Alejandro Sánchez)
Ian McElhinney - Ivan
Juliet Stevenson - Amy
Michelle Hartman - Nurse
Eileen Walsh - Dr. Christopher
Nick Dunning - Dr. Hersbach
Christopher Lee - Joaquín Morales


Official Website: Bac Films [France] |

Release Date: 13 November 2009

Filming Locations: Alicante, Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain

Technical Specs

Runtime: Canada: (Toronto International Film Festival)

Did You Know?

In the film, Joaquin asks Mark his age, to which Mark replies he is 34. Colin Farrell was in fact 33 when making the film. Joaquin later admits in the film that he is 86, which was the age Christopher Lee was at the time of filming.

Joaquín Morales: I like to think of myself as a scholar of the human spirit.

User Review

The Numbing. Destructive Silences of War Experience

Rating: 8/10

TRIAGE is a well chosen title for this film about who survives an who dies in war: at times those triage decisions are made by serendipity (read 'bad luck'), at times they are made by physicians or medics tending the wounded on the battlefield, and at times they are submerged in the apparent 'survivors' only to later crush the life from those who make it home. Writer/Director Danis Tanovic has adapted Scott Anderson's novel is a manner that carries the seemingly simple act of 'triage' throughout the film, showing how that action can affect the lives of friends, family, and psychological wholeness of the victim.

Mark Walsh (Colin Farrell, in yet another powerful role) and his buddy David (Jamie Sives) are war photographers for a newspaper edited by Amy (Juliet Stevenson). Their current assignment is Kurdistan and the terrifying realities they not only experience but also commit to film are of such a horrid nature that they both are in shock: they not only witness killings and landmine explosion deaths, but they also watch one Dr. Talani (Branko Djuric) triage the wounded, deciding who can survive care and who is so near death that they are put aside to be later 'executed' by Dr. Talani in a compassionate gesture to end their futile suffering. The tension is so great that David decides to return home, leaving Mark to carry on the assignment. An explosion occurs and Mark is seriously injured but survives and after being tended by Dr. Talani he is encouraged to return home. There is no news as to where David is.

Mark returns home to his adoring Elena (Paz Vega), presents his photographs to Amy, and begins to heal: David's wife Diane (Kelly Reilly) is due to deliver their first child in two weeks and has had no word from David. We watch as Mark, eroded by his experiences in Kurdistan, retreat into a state of decline. Elena grows fearful as Mark, despite hospitalizations and medical care, continues to deteriorate and out of desperation she calls her grandfather Joaquin, a psychiatrist who treated the victims of the Spanish Civil War (Elena is still angry that her own grandfather treated the perpetrators of the destruction that war caused). Joaquin slowly brings Mark into the acceptance of how his mind has triaged the events in Kurdistan and leads Mark to discover the truths about incidents in what war for which he has blamed himself. We finally understand David's disappearance at the moment when his and Diane's child is born.

This is a tough story to watch: subtitles would help the audience understand the many dialects used in the film. But the message is clear and the acting is superb by every member of the cast, even very small but cogent cameos by Reece Ritchie as a boy in Beirut and Dada Ashi as a Ugandan woman - two of the early incidents Mark must remember and face in his work with Joaquin. The cinematography is dazzling, especially the use of flashbacks of a raging river so important in Mark's memory recall, and the constant focus on the blue and yellow tags that mark the triage decisions. This is another powerful anti-war film, this time as seen through the eyes of a non-combatant observer. It is important to see.

Grady Harp


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