In Marta D’Ocon’s short thriller, The War Within, a young woman is forced to decide between which devil to serve. Matilde (Sabrina Hartmann) is the daughter of two very strict parents who dream of one day going into the city to get an education. Favoring her younger brother, Matilde’s parents are incensed that she’d even think of running away to the city, let alone with her guerilla boyfriend, Carlos (Alan Corvaia).
Matilde’s angry father drags her to the chicken shed and locks her in during the night. From the shed, she witnesses the brutal murder of her parents and brother by the government-bought paramilitary. The next morning, Matilde is rescued by Carlos, who brings her on as a fellow guerilla revolutionary. Impressed by her marksmanship, Commander Teresa (Laura Urgelles) promotes her to sniper. To this point life is perfect…until she discovers she is pregnant with Carlos’ baby—good news for one, but not for the other.
“…she witnesses the brutal murder of her parents and brother by the government-bought paramilitary.”
The War Within is a very gritty and very indie war drama. Gritty in the sense that we see Matilde’s slow indoctrination into the revolution and how she literally gives her life for the cause. Driven by revenge for her family, the conversion was easy, but the results of her pregnancy are brutal and tough to fathom.
On the other hand, the story being told here feels very indie in tone—The War Within skates between low-budget indie and mid-budget indie in quality. Filmmaker Marta D’Ocon shows she has a knack for storytelling and makes the most of the film’s budget. What the film needed most was the “magic” part of “movie magic.” That innate ability to make a small budget look like a big budget through editing and production values.
In the end, it’s D’Ocon’s story that wins out and could easily be told as a feature film about a woman whose newfound purpose in life comes at a high cost.
"…it's D'Ocon's story that wins out and could easily be told as a feature film..."