Noted actor Tim Roth made his directorial debut with this powerful drama about a family in crisis. Tom (Freddie Cunliffe) is an awkward and troubled 15-year-old boy whose isolation increases when his family moves from London to a remote community in the Devon countryside. Tom, his 18-year-old sister Jessie (Lara Belmont), his father (Ray Winstone), and his pregnant mother (Tilda Swinton) live in close quarters in a small cottage; they sometimes bathe in the kitchen, and they have grown used to casual nudity around the house. But one day, Tom sees his father in a sexual embrace with Jessie. He tries to discuss what he's seen with her, but she refuses to talk about it. Unable to stand the tension in the household after his mother takes the seriously ill baby to the hospital, Tom confronts his father, who angrily denies the truth. Tom is finally forced to take drastic action to stop his vengeful and violent father. Written by Alexander Stuart from his own novel, The War Zone received an enthusiastic response at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival and was named Best New British Feature at the 1999 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis