Bahar (Golshifteh Farahani) is the leader of an all-female battalion of Iraqi and Syrian women, who escaped kidnapping at the hands of an Islamic terrorist group and are planning their revenge. Mathilde (Emmanuelle Bercot), a veteran war reporter, with an eyepatch no less, follows Bahar and her warriors in Kurdistan where they try to take back their invaded village from the terrorists.
French director Eva Husson’s “Girls of the Sun” feels like the kind of political wartime film Hollywood used to churn out almost every year in the ‘80s — you remember, stuff like “Salvador,” and “The Year of Living Dangerously” — movies filled with comradeship, uber-political agendas, humanism and, most importantly, a heroic wartime journalist. Husson seems to be using these films as her blueprint for this all-female version of war. However, the speechifying is cranked on overload in her screenplay as “Girls of the Sun” is filled with one-too-many corny moments delivered via unconvincing dialogue. The film is filled with bland and insufferably expository exchanges between the women, and the way they deliver their stories from back home, with the kind of dialogue that could easily fit into Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor,” is damn-near cringeworthy.
It’s a real shame, because the way Husson shoots the harrowing battle sequences is, quite frankly, impressive. Much like her debut, 2014’s erotically charged “Bang Bang (A Modern Love Story),” the writer-director tries to juggle one too many character arcs, which ends up blurring our focus of the bigger picture. Maybe next time she can hand the scripting duties to a more polished and subtle screenwriter. It all comes as a relief then that these flawed passages are countered by the slow-burn tension of the action. There are some truly vivid showdowns in “Girls of the Sun,” aided by Husson’s excellent framing and her knack for never staging the obvious, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Hollywood comes knocking at her door soon.