Typically, when an actor makes the jump into the director’s chair, they prefer to make small films, straightforward character studies that plays to their strengths. Think of Denzel Washington directing Antwone Fisher, or Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, or Ben Affleck’s ever-expanding oeuvre of films set in Boston starring Afflecks. But there are exceptions. Think of Warren Beatty’s Red, or Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves — both big, burly, epic message movies about an overlooked period in history. To that list, you can now add In the Land of Blood and Honey, written and directed by Angelina Jolie. The film follows the strange romance between a Serbian soldier and a Muslim woman in war-torn Bosnia.

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