Bitter resentments and argumentative natures tear a friendship apart, along with their associated colleagues, into an all-out imaginative summer time war. A woodsy backdrop becomes the battlefield to Jason Lapeyre’s and Robert Wilson’s darkly humored / insightful feature film I Declare War.
More in-depth story details can be read as follows:
“Every day after school, two groups of thirteen-year old friends play ‘war’ in a local forest. They make their own guns out of sticks, old toys, anything they can find. They play to have fun. One afternoon, the game gets a little out of hand.
One side’s commander, the brilliant tactician PK Sullivan, is clever, ruthless, and committed to the traditional military ideals of leadership, loyalty and victory. PK’s clear-cut world is complicated when Skinner, a loose cannon and enemy soldier, kidnaps PK’s best friend, Kwon, and holds him prisoner. Skinner goes off the deep end, ‘removing’ his own commander and taking over the team. He’s obsessed with defeating PK and begins torturing Kwon to get information.
PK mounts rescue attempt after rescue attempt, trying deception, force, tactics, whatever will get his friend back. Meanwhile, the other soldiers on both sides flex what little power they have. Jess, the lone girl, wants to impress one of the boys, and is determined to circumvent all the stupidity and just win the war on her own. The bully-and-weakling team of Sikorski and Frost begins to show stress fractures. The heartless, frustrated Joker taunts the shy, nervous Altar Boy, until fate provides Altar Boy with an opportunity for payback. Caleb, a quietly cold-blooded ‘assassin’, wanders through the carnage with his dog Shadow. None of PK’s rescue attempts are successful, and Kwon is left to escape on his own.
Unfortunately, Kwon’s escape runs contrary to PK’s plans. He needs Kwon to play prisoner in order to keep Skinner distracted. PK coldly orders his best friend to go back to Skinner’s camp and be re-captured, even though it probably means more torture for Kwon. Kwon wilts and agrees. PK launches his grand finale – a ring strategy meant to completely encircle Skinner and overwhelm him. But Skinner is smarter than PK gives him credit for. He anticipates PK’s attack and moves his base, leaving a trap for PK and capturing him.
In the end, Skinner reveals why he wants to defeat PK so badly – they used to be best friends, until PK realized Skinner wasn’t very fun to hang out with and made Kwon his new best friend. Skinner tells PK he can have the victory, but he wants PK to cut Kwon on the face, to sell out Kwon as easily as he sold out Skinner. PK edges closer and closer to Kwon with the knife faced with choosing victory over friendship. At the last moment, death comes from above to save him as Caleb pilots a remote control plane into Skinner, injuring him and winning the war for PK.
With overtones of “Lord of the Flies”, I DECLARE WAR is a parable reflecting not only events broadcast nightly on newscasts throughout the world, but a chilling depiction of the capacity for youth – man – to take charge and to win at all costs. I DECLARE WAR is a kids adventure film, starring real kids behaving and sounding like real kids.”
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Trailer for I DECLARE WAR.