Narvik (War, Drama, History) (2022)
Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Writer: Erik Skjoldbjærg, Christopher Grøndahl, Live Bonnevie, Sebastian Torngren Wartin
Stars: Kristine Hartgren, Carl Martin Eggsbø, Christoph Bach, Christoph Gelfert Mathiesen
To control an immense source of iron ore for use in Nazi warfare throughout Europe. The port town of Narvik is claimed, and while surrender seems immediate, these hardened Norwegian inhabitants aren’t giving such an advantage over easily.
Initially premiering in Norwegian movie theatres, Erik Skjoldbjærg presents a substantial defeat for the Nazis and a significant victory for the Norwegians during the Second World War. While the director isn’t a fresh face, ‘’Narvik’’ captures an international audience by being published through a streaming service. Like many other films, it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before releasing late 2022. It has been produced by Nordisk Films and distributed by Netflix.
After several naval battles across the Norwegian shoreline between the British and Nazi Germany, the port town of Narvik became occupied by Nazi forces, claiming the settlement and its ore reserves. The remaining Norwegian soldiers fled, escorting civilians to the border and settling down for a final stand by destroying the bridge, a significant blow to Nazi operations.
As yet another untold tale of WWII, ‘’Narvik’’ portrays a vital piece of history also labelled ‘’Hitler’s First Defeat’’. Warfare in frigid temperatures and self-preservation provide a unique look into this Nazi occupation.
An effectively desperate showing of conflict for civilians is provided in Erik Skjoldbjærg’s picture within mere moments, following a young soldier in Carl Martin Eggsbø’s Corporal Gunnar and his wife in Kristine Hartgren’s Ingrid. Both find themselves in entirely different situations; while Eggsbø’s Gunnar intends to protect Hartgren’s Ingrid and his son by any means, the battle takes him out of Narvik, and both have to fight their own struggles, however different.
In a blend of diplomatic, secretive and combat-oriented warfare ‘’Narvik’’ does well, much like ‘’All Quiet on the Western Front’’ to portray even Nazi occupiers as not being an immoral evil. Skjoldbjærg’s project is more of a drama feature, though, still, there are definite comparisons to be drawn in showing the axis in a more humanising manner.
A unique conflict showing separate sides of the war and integrating different languages expertly, all whilst capturing Norwegian war history proficiently. While previously the Dutch film, ‘’The Forgotten Battle’’, had difficulty standing out enough between such films as ‘’1917’’, ‘’Narvik’’ seems to face similar issues. Yet, it should undoubtedly be on the list for any history buffs and war-film fanatics.
A victory for Skjoldbjærg.