Under the Wire (5 stars)

Under the Wire

Marie Colvin's final assignment is the subject of this searing, pertinent and poignant documentary

In the era of fake news and phoney politicians, there are few more heroic figures than the investigative journalist. Their status as fearless truth seekers is emphatically underlined by Under the Wire, a gripping account of the last assignment undertaken by war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy.

In 2012, Colvin and Conroy illegally entered Syria to report on the relentless shelling of the rebel stronghold in Homs. The formidable Colvin, with her trademark eye patch, had a reputation for going where other journalists feared to tread. She repeatedly put her life in jeopardy to report on the human casualties of war. Conroy shared her values and joined her in Baba Amr to provide the kind of vivid reporting designed to prick the conscience of a seemingly indifferent western world unwilling to intervene or hold Syria to account.

Christopher Martin's taut, compelling documentary is deftly constructed around extensive footage of what happened to the duo and hindsight testimony from the gruffly charismatic Conroy. The combination of the two makes for an intense excursion into front line journalism, where you feel as if you are living every moment of it. Friends and colleagues, including Lindsey Hilsum and Syrian translator Wa'el, provide a sense of the bigger picture.

Conroy's words make you aware of the dangers that were faced and what was at stake. The footage places you into the heart of a pitch-black night-time crossing of the border, the rumble of shell fire and the loss of life. The fact that Colvin would not survive this assignment only makes the events more poignant.

As tense and thrilling as any fictional tale, Under the Wire is an exceptional documentary. It offers a powerful tribute to those willing to risk everything to bear witness to history and ensure that the truth is told.

Limited release from Fri 7 Sep.

Under the Wire

  • 5 stars
  • 2018
  • UK
  • 1h 35min
  • Directed by: Christopher Martin
  • Cast: Paul Conroy, Marie Colvin
  • UK release: 7 September 2018

Documentary about the last assignment undertaken by the late war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy. A gripping and ultimate account of investigative journalism in frontline Syria, with extensive footage and hindsight testimony from the gruffly charismatic Conroy.