I Declare War is about a capture the flag game that turns nasty, brutish and adult very quickly. The operative word is adult. The kids don't get too much time to be kids before the plot requires them to be another version of Lord of the Flies.
The weapons of choice are air guns, and balloons filled with red dye that indicate their bloody death when thrown and splattered. When the rat-tat gets going their imaginations change the toy guns into real guns and kids fall bloodlessly to the ground when hit.
The whole scenario turns on setting up the two sides as a struggle between intellect and emotion, with emotion pushing intellect to cross the line between distance and determined revenge, between being fun and games and being very serious fun and games. So RPG obsession leads to adult tactics: the taking of prisoners, torture, injury and almost real casualties. Thankfully, the directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson stop short of turning I Declare War into a gruesome parody of The Hunger Games.
The kid actors give performance that range from good enough to uncomfortably wooden, with the awkwardness enhancing the blunt force impact when situations dislodge profanity, casual racism, sexism, homophobia, sadism and other unattractive adult traits.
The heroes, villains and fantasies might be childlike but I Declare War's truths are adults.
I Declare War gets a B from me.
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