Two journalists and two medicos take a dangerous road trip just after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in Lancelot von Naso’s first feature, “Ceasefire,” a tense, credible war-zone odyssey suspended between actioner and docudrama. Theatrical prospects aren’t likely to stretch far beyond European borders, though the pic will travel well in ancillary formats.
Three weeks after the fall of Baghdad in 2004, American military reprisals for Sunni resistance attacks have resulted in heavy casualties among Fallujah civilians as well as targeted militants. Helping locals run the overwhelmed last hospital standing are surgeon Alain (Matthias Habich), a disillusioned veteran of such crises, and much younger nurse Kim (Thekla Reuten). She insists they use a 24-hour truce to get desperately needed medical supplies from Baghdad. Coming along are two fellow Germans — TV reporter Oliver (Max von Pufendorf), eager to be the first international press in the besieged city, and much-less-enthused macho cameraman Ralf (Hannes Jaenicke) — plus trusted driver Husam (Husam Chadat). Despite the alleged ceasefire, perils en route are many. Eschewing excess shaky-cam, the expertly crafted pic (shot mostly in Morocco) balances gritty on-the-ground realism with character drama just nuanced enough to avoid cliche.