On 13th February 2012, two journalists entered war-ravaged Syria. One of them was celebrated Sunday Times war correspondent, Marie Colvin. The other was photographer, Paul Conroy. Their aim was to cover the plight of Syrian civilians trapped in Homs, a city under siege and relentless military attack from the Syrian army. Only one of them returned.
Based on the book of the same name by Paul Conroy, Under The Wire tells the incredible story of his and Marie’s fateful mission –and Paul’s epic battle to escape the city, to tell the world of his fallen colleague and the plight of the people of Homs. It’s a film about real journalism: about war, and an extraordinary commitment to telling the truth, whatever the cost. Colvin and Conroy are led across the Syrian border by smugglers –through safe houses, rebel hangouts and military checkpoints, down into the hell of a mile long underground tunnel, the only route into Homs, and it’s besieged suburb of Baba Amr. At the heart of the film is Paul Conroy’s own testimony –he describes his and Marie’s rage at seeing doctors fighting to save innocent lives in makeshift back room hospitals, women and children cowering in darkened basements, and the spirit of a people fighting to stay alive in the face of horrific attack. ‘This wasn’t war as I knew it, or Marie knew it. It was slaughter” Forced to leave Homs under the threat of an imminent Syrian army invasion, they file their story from a nearby village –and then make the decision to return to Homs and continue reporting.
Once there, unable to leave their makeshift media centre due to incessant bombing, Marie reports live to international broadcasters CNN, C4 and BBC. The next day, their building is directly targeted. Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, are killed in the attack. As news spreads across the world of Colvin’s death, a badly injured Conroy, his translator Wa’el, two other French journalists, Edith Bouvier, (also injured) and William Daniels, are trapped in a darkened room in a suburb of Homs. With the Syrian army closing in, their building taking direct hits, the journalists make desperate pleas by You Tube to the outside world for help. When a ceasefire is called, they’re forced to make a life and death decision: accept the suspicious offer of what they fear is a government controlled ambulance out of Homs, or break out through the frontlines and risk an escape through the mile long underground tunnel. The film is told through the voices of the individuals directly involved, all talking to camera about the story for the first time.