The Serb and the Croat recognize each other on a London bus. A fight begins instantly. They end up in a shared hospital room, attempting to sabotage each other's life-support systems. By the end of Beautiful People they are contentedly playing cards together.
You may suspect that Jasmin Dizdar's low-budget debut feature has sold out to sentimentality. But that reckons without Dizdar's gift for kinetics. He's all intensity. And control. There's not a wasted word or an extraneous shot in his film. And his way with coincidence is often very funny.
Among the stories he tells are those of an obstetrician whose marriage is bitterly unraveling as he attempts to prevent a rape victim and her husband from aborting a child, and of a feckless youth who falls asleep on a palette of relief supplies and, dropped into a war zone, discovers his purpose. It is Dizdar's cool objectivity --his refusal to dwell on anyone's troubles (or triumphs)--that makes his portrait of good hearts overcoming emotional Balkanization the best movie of this very young millennium.
--By Richard Schickel