Harrison’s Flowers

Though made mainly by a French director (Elie Chouraqui) and crew, this 2000 English-language picture is another of those let’s get audiences to care about a distant conflict by planting a couple of Hollywood actors over there moviesthere in this case meaning Bosnia (with the Czech Republic as its stand-in). Andie MacDowell and David Strathairn do duty as the key American characters. He’s a Newsweek photojournalist who disappears; she’s the wife back home who comes to find him. Other Yanks abroad are played by Elias Koteas, Adrien Brody, and Brendan Gleeson. This is marginally better than most movies of its ilk: the scenes of warfare are grimly convincing and the aims of the film are honorable. But it’s ultimately a losing battle when the audience’s lack of interest in eastern Europeans is assumed at the outset. The script comes from several hands, including Isabel Ellsen, who adapted her own book, and Chouraqui. 130 min. (JR)

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