Helvette, what do we have here? Narvik is a mediocre but perfectly watchable war drama based on true events. You can tell it’s intended for the domestic, Norwegian market without much desire to wow the international audiences. This makes it feel more personal, offering you an opportunity to feel the pulse of the nation. And I’m always up for these voyeuristic expeditions. Again we will be focusing on a family in an incredibly difficult situation as WWII is slowly but surely coming to Norway. I do understand their decision to use the family unit to tell a broader story of the Battles of Narvik.
This is an easy way out and it no doubt resonates well with the general population. However, it’s also awfully generic and predictable. Sheesh, how many of these movies we will have to watch where mother and father have to make difficult decisions and overcome obstacles in order to finally be reunited? On the other hand, Narvik also offers an intriguing look at the oftentimes forgotten aspects of warfare. In order to fight a war you need to have a lot of equipment and to make that equipment you need resources. Like iron ore produced in the small town of Narvik.
At the same time, we see the war as it really is, messy and brutal. The political games are bolstered by the threat of violence and a situation that’s constantly changing. So, if you’re willing to look past the family melodrama, even hardcore war movie fans will find something interesting here. However, do not expect a lot of action or anything like that. The depiction of the battle is rather limited due to budgetary constraints. So, this isn’t All Quiet on the Western Front, a masterpiece that manages to fuse action and personal drama into one engaging narrative.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1940 and Gunnar Tofte is one happy man. He’s a soldier who just got permission to visit his son and wife tonight. However, in the middle of the night, Gunnar starts hearing explosions in the distance and leaves his family home in haste. It would appear that the Germans are attacking his small town under the cover of darkness. The first light will bring even more bad news as his unit must destroy an important route out of town. Town his wife and son are trying to leave…
Taking advantage of the Norwegian snowy setting, Narvik looks and feels authentic. Especially when you consider the fact the budget was just $6.4 million. The cast was solid and the script was well-written. Sure, it could’ve been better but that’s not important now. What is important is an honest look into the early stages of the war. Something we, unfortunately, had the opportunity to see recently with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
If, however, you’re looking for something a bit flashier and action-packed, I do recommend you check out Sisu, a Finnish movie about one tough son of a bitch fighting the Germans for his gold.
Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Writers: Christopher Grøndahl, Sebastian Torngren Wartin
Cast: Kristine Hartgen, Carl Martin Eggesbø, Christoph Gelfert Mathiesen, Henrik Mestad, Christoph Bach
Fun Facts: Eystein Røset is the only living survivor of the Battles of Narvik and after he saw this movie he said: “This is exactly how it happened”.