Winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009, Storm is the story of prosecutor Hannah Maynard’s (Kerry Fox) and key witness Mira Arendt’s (Anamaria Marinca) struggle to obtain justice through the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague. This docudrama directed by Hans-Christian Schmid derives from the real life story of international criminal prosecutor Hildegard Uertz. Uertz is quite famous for her dedication to international justice and for conducting the first international lawsuit in which rape was accepted as a war crime.
It is no stretch of the imagination to believe that Storm was largely inspired by true events. Unlike most other court room dramas which show justice swiftly served, Storm is more interested in showing the long arduous process behind all court cases. The film introduces viewers to a wide range of problems plaguing the Hague court: funding, lack of resources, and security to name a few. While the film in opening viewers’ eyes to a huge range of issues surrounding the court is extremely thought provoking, it also seems to weigh the movie down. Instead of an in-depth look at one problem or aspect of the court, viewers are instead asked to be satisfied with a wide sampling of conflicts. While in some ways this makes Storm refreshingly unique, it also places viewers at a distance; we don’t know enough about any one problem to feel properly invested in the characters or the story.
The film is brilliantly acted by leads Fox and Marinca. Filmgoers may recognize Fox from Jane Campion’s 2009 John Keats biopic Bright Star and Marinca from her unforgettable performance in the groundbreaking 2007 Romanian film 4 months 3 Weeks 2 Days.
Reflecting on the film, I can’t help but think that Storm would have made a brilliant mini-series. Without the time constraints of an hour and forty three minute film, Storm could have taken the time necessary to explore properly all the complex and diversified problems that the film so fascinatingly introduces. With a mini-series akin to The Wire, Storm, rather than simply calling attention to the many intricate issues surrounding the International Criminal Court could adequately explore the interconnected complexities that plague justice systems all over the world.