Director: Erik Skjoldbjaerg | Screenplay: Christopher Grøndahl, Live Bonnevie | Cast: Carl Martin Eggesbø (Gunmar Tofte), Kristine Hartgen (Ingrid Tofte), Stig Henrik Hoff (Aslak Tofte), Mathilde Holtedahl Cuhran (Bjørg), Christoph Back (Consul Wussow), ea | Time to play: 108 minutes | Year: 2023
In April 1940, Germany attempted to invade Norway, including through the ice-free port of Narvik. As is often the case, the Germans did not respect Norway’s neutrality, but they did meet with Norwegian resistance and especially the English navy. It will be Hitler’s first defeat, but the Battle of Narvik took its toll on the local population.
You will learn all about the attack on Narvik during the Norwegian history lessons. He is less well known in the Netherlands, so it is good to learn through this film about what is known as Hitler’s first official setback in 1940. The timing of the appearance of narvik is strong. The Nazis are using a blatant and lame excuse similar to what Putin has been making for the last year to justify his war with Ukraine in order to break Norwegian neutrality.
narvik It starts with the obligatory number of our hero and meets his family. Corporal Gunmar Tofte is a tired soldier who returns to his village after a long absence to celebrate his son’s birthday with his wife. He can speak German and English, so he can communicate with everyone present.
This introduction is ephemeral, because the first shots are given that same night. From that moment the problem begins. Gunmar has to go on another mission, while the Germans force his wife Ingrid to join his team. She watches as her husband is arrested after he tried to blow up a train bridge. From that moment they separate from each other. Each lives in fear that the other will not survive.
Narvik is a small town despite its historical importance, with only a handful of characters to engage with. Beautiful ingredients for a very personal drama. But the creators of narvik Surely I want to convey how the war, not only against the Nazis, but the entire battle, was a great burden for Norway. From time to time a text appears on the screen, which counts how many weeks have passed and what has happened during that period.
It’s also meant to make you feel what it’s like to live your life one day and then suddenly find yourself in a war zone. Ingrid is walking towards her house at night, when an English bomb falls right there. She runs in and finds her son hiding under her bed. Very sad and moving. But when the boy indicates that he is bleeding, the scene stops and becomes a temporary cliffhanger: will the little boy still be alive?
The creators could have shown how Ingrid watches a half-burning Narvik and sees how her safe haven has become the battlefield between England and Germany. But we skip to four weeks later, where Gunmar walks through the mountains as a prisoner of war. I have no idea what happened to him in those last few weeks, and therefore no idea how this sudden war has caught up with him.
And that time he looks around, oddly enough, it’s while the Germans are shooting at him. Actually, it was shot down a long time ago, it’s already a big target. That’s how it undulates narvik on, though it’s certainly not an annoying seat. But the filmmakers continue to waver between building a relationship with the characters and highlighting the various historical events, failing to do either justice.
Meanwhile, back in town, Ingrid becomes much less sympathetic when making a certain decision, one of the worst things a person can do during a war. She has a very good reason for doing what she does. But it’s still an intense moment, halfway narvikof which more could be obtained at the same time.
The history lesson continues even after the end of the story, but the text that appears on the screen also feels like a reproach. “We just wanted to spend World War II in peace and quiet, but you had to come and fight here if you had to, which caused us a lot of damage and suffering.”
It’s weird to point your finger through a 2023 Netflix movie about something that happened in 1940 because of the Nazis. But to get there, the creators deliver some beautiful footage of Norway, a history lesson on a Norwegian experience, some great acting, and some perhaps unspectacular but exciting Gunmar missions.
narvik can be seen in Netflix.