Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin, once described by one of her photographer collaborators as ‘scarier than war’, lived half of her life in combat zones, famously adopting an eyepatch after she was half-blinded by a grenade attack in Beirut. When she was killed in Homs in 2012, deliberately targeted by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, she and British photojournalist and war veteran Paul Conroy were bringing the plight of the stranded, slaughtered Syrian civilian populace to the world. Conroy subsequently wrote about the events leading up to Colvin’s death and his hair-raising escape from the city in his memoir ‘Under the Wire’. Now, along with his translator, editor and fellow survivor Edith Bouvier, he retells the story in this urgent, riveting documentary.
Writer-director Christopher Martin (‘The War on Democracy’) keeps things simple, combining new interviews with grainy, shaky contemporaneous footage, much of it shot on the run or under siege on camera phones. This no-frills approach lends ‘Under the Wire’ the same stark intensity as Colvin’s best reportage.
At a time when authoritarian leaders are denigrating journalists, this documentary is a reminder that heroes such as Colvin, Conroy and countless others who put themselves in harm’s way to expose the truth about war and genocide are not enemies of the people, but their voices and champions.