The long-awaited trial by the International Tribunal at the Hague of Radovan Karadzic, one of the Serbian leaders responsible for the Bosnian genocide and accused of crimes against humanity has not yet taken off. Like his mentor Milosevic who actually died before sentencing—a death that in its timeliness, one might think orchestrated by the devil himself—the Serb uses every kind of loophole to avoid allowing international justice, such as it is, to be served.
Smack in the middle of this drama that Karadzic is preventing from being played out comes Storm that has had screenings for one day only before its official release a few months from now. A totally gripping drama about the bureaucracy of international organizations (imagine) it follows prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) whose first witness against a Serb war criminal, General Goran Duric, turns out to be useless.
She then puts all her energy into presenting a solid case with the help of another witness played by Anamaria Marinca (Otilia in Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) though she doesn’t have much support. Her direct boss whom she resents since he received a promotion for which she was more qualified only wants to keep his bosses happy by making as few waves as possible, even at the cost of letting walk the war criminal, a nationalist hero among Serbs.
Her sometimes boyfriend is a United Nations official who is only interested in making sure that these trials don’t jeopardize Serbian entry into the EU. And the witness and her family are terrified of reprisals by thugs still at large. But the prosecutor doesn’t let go. The dramatic finale, though not quite believable and not quite satisfying still sees the villain punished, sort of.
Storm leaves us deeply conscious of the imperfection of our too-human organizations in dealing with higher questions of ethics and morality versus expediency. Also with the nagging question: does evil know it’s evil? Would it make us sleep better to know that the Hitlers of the world hate what they see in the mirror?