Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Under the Wire

Given the sheer logistics and geography of current ‘war zones’, not to mention the erosions in protections traditionally bestowed on journalists, ‘citizen reporters’ are becoming much more important. However, they don’t necessarily have the same impact as those working within print media in the West. Even with all the dangers involved, heightened by the rise of Al-Qaeda and daesh, there are reporters still determined to highlight the suffering on innocents.

Marie Colvin worked as a war correspondent for the Sunday Times between 1985 and 2012. During this time, she built up a reputation for being a fearless reporter, an eccentric character and a revered journalist. She was accompanied on her later assignments by Paul Conroy, a former soldier turned conflict photographer. Christopher Martin’s documentary Under the Wire focuses on their last time working together.

Based on Conroy’s book of the same name, Under the Wire is a powerful, disturbing and thought-provoking look at the sacrifices journalists make to bring atrocities to light. Using reconstructions, interviews with fellow journalists and Conroy’s first-hand account, Martin has produced a documentary which puts the audience in their shoes. The sheer bravery to enter and remain in Baba Amr under heavy shelling from the Syrian regime is extraordinary. Under the Wire is a fitting tribute to the remarkable people who put their lives on the line to try and save others.

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