"Though not without fault, I Declare War is a fun film, with a wonderful cast who bring a simple story to life"

Canadian duo Robert Wilson and Jason Lapeyre present a homage to childhood adventure in this charming tale with a sinister edge. In I Declare War, two groups of boys (and the token girl) are playing Capture the Flag.

What should be a competitive, exciting challenge soon turns sour as bully Jamie - played by the exceptional Michael Friend, is pitted against the unbeaten P.K, whose cockiness and boyish charm infuriates the chubby, unpopular Jamie. The story is uncomplicated and simplistic, but carried by a brilliant, enthusiastic cast. 

The film brings about a comforting sense of nostalgia, and is clearly a nod to the earlier coming-of-age films of the ‘80’s. It’s impossible not to compare the film to Stand By Me. Both have a dark tone that runs beneath the sense of adventure and excitement. Yet I Declare War feels as if it’s attempting to take it to a far darker place. We see the war game through the eyes of the children.

The guns and weaponry are all real and whilst there’s only the odd moment that’s notably shocking, it’s a noticeable move away from the subtle darkness of the ‘80’s classic. One particularly brutal act of violence, which presumably earned the film its 15 rating, feels quite sudden and brutal, and is the pivotal point that transforms the film from being an action-packed lark to a tense thriller, and whilst it never quite loses it to the point that it becomes an all guns blazing war film, it certainly retains an uneasy atmosphere that lingers throughout.

The biggest disappointment with the film is the character of Jessica. Relative newcomer Mackenzie Munro plays her character well, but her only purpose seems to be to serve a silly sub-plot which, rather boringly involves not the other boys in the team having a crush on her. In fact, her main reason for being involved in the game at all is to impress the angelically handsome Quinn, who aids her in her mission by appearing as some sort of manifestation of her daydreams.  It’s completely tiresome.

There’s no need to shoe-horn in a female character for the sake of equality if there’s not really going to be any equality at all, and the film would’ve been better off without it.

Though not without fault, I Declare War is a fun film, with a wonderful cast who bring a simple story to life.