Actors turned directors are a fascinating breed as their natural desire to be seen and noticed is often forced to take a backseat to what and who is visible onscreen. Well, unless they insist on directing and starring for their directorial debut. The difference can be incredibly varied as anyone who’s seen both Gone Baby Gone and Harlem Nights can attest. For every The Night of the Hunter there are a handful of Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier‘s. And as a fan of movies both good and deliriously bad I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And while Angelina Jolie isn’t the first actor to step behind the camera, she may be the first bobble-head to do so. I kid. But seriously, her head is too big for her body.

Despite that physical impairment Jolie has carved a solid niche for herself as Hollywood’s go to action heroine with occasional side trips into more dramatic (but less interesting) territory. Like most actors it seems, she’s decided that what she really want to do is direct, and the initial fruits of that labor are finally ready to be revealed. In the Land of Blood & Honey is a drama about a doomed and fairly twisted relationship between a Muslim woman and a Serbian soldier in war-torn Bosnia. Romance and tragedy are intertwined with a glimpse into one of the many dark spots in humanity’s recent history. It may or may not sound like much, but judging by the first trailer it appears Jolie won’t be following in William Shatner or Eddie Murphy’s footsteps at all. Because this movie looks pretty fantastic (and depressing).

Check out the trailer below.

I’m not much of a Jolie fan, but judging by this trailer her directorial debut looks pretty damn impressive. Sure some credit should go to the marketing department over at Film District, but the tone, look, and feel of the film all goes back to Jolie. It looks like she’s done a solid job capturing both the softer, emotional moments and the violent turmoil of battle. We’ll have to wait a couple more months to see if she’s able to maintain that beyond a two minute trailer, but for now her film has definitely moved up the list of ones to watch out for before the end of the year.

In the Land of Blood & Honey opens in limited release on December 23rd.


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