Movie review of “A Perfect Day”: Oscar winners Tim Robbins and Benicio Del Toro co-star in this wartime comedy-drama set in the Balkans in 1995. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

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“This is war” quickly becomes a mantra in “A Perfect Day,” in which it’s used to explain atrocities as well as relatively minor wartime inconveniences in the Balkans during 1995.

Most of these events are seen through the eyes of an Aid Across Borders worker, played by Benicio Del Toro, who brings loads of charismatic energy to the character’s battles with red tape. Less compelling are an ex-girlfriend (Olga Kurylenko) and a sidekick (Tim Robbins), though both have their persuasive moments.

Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa (who made the frisky unemployment-blues comedy “Mondays in the Sun”), “A Perfect Day” sometimes suggests “M*A*S*H Visits the Balkans,” but that’s a stretch. The script lacks balance, and the use of familiar pop songs is distracting (Marlene Dietrich and Lou Reed, together for the first time?).

Movie Review ★★★  

‘A Perfect Day,’ with Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko. Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa, from a screenplay by León de Aranoa and Diego Farias. 105 minutes. Rated R for language, including some sexual references. In English, French, Serbian, Bosnian and Spanish, with English subtitles. Sundance Cinemas (21+).

On the other hand, this is one of those rare, thoughtful war movies that doesn’t emphasize brutality. It’s so restrained on this score that its R rating is for language and sexual references only.