Despite its setting in a tense conflict zone in the Balkans, this is clearly not an action film. It is a day-in-the-life film with plot taking a back seat. Mini-plots are well done and keep the viewer engaged and the film manages an unusually successful mixture of comic lightness and grim reality. In fact, I would suggest that combination is its strength, depicting the kind of paradoxical blend of a sense of humour with the restrained optimism, courage and determination that enables aid workers to survive the dangers and absurdities of this kind of conflict. Most of the comic touches are managed without much exaggeration, though Tim Robbins' character (acted very well) does slip a little into caricature.
The acting is great, though Del Toro and Robbins are probably given a little more room to demonstrate this than the lead women, which was a missed opportunity. All in all it gives a sympathetic glimpse into the lives of aid workers that make you very appreciative of what they risk and the efforts they make in spite of the bureaucratic obstacles and the frustrating nature of human conflict that conspire to limit the effectiveness of what they can achieve. The closing scene adds just the right note to the mix, even though that may also be less than inspiring to those who work in the field.
Don't miss this relatively ignored gem if you have any interest at all in the lives of aid workers who help conflict zones slowly become livable again. ***+ and a mug up from me.