Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to surv... Read allNorway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.Norway, WWII: A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in the wilderness after an aircraft battle. Finding shelter in the same cabin, they realize the only way to survive the winter is to place the rules of war aside.
What a surprise. This WWII survival tale set in the snowy wilderness of Norway is based on true events of a British and a German airplane both crashing and how the survivors fared. It is compact and touching, funny and harrowing. A true ensemble cast movie that could have easily been a play, "Into the White" explores the basic humanity of our bitter world, and how beneath the rules and boundaries that lead to war and strife and petty argument are the warm loving truths of human beings surviving together on a hostile planet.
Not to overbuild the thing. There are some flaws and some awkward attempts at drama (the amputation is perhaps too much for this short period). But it's a weirdly humble movie in its filming and writing. What pulls it together is its simple sincerity, its lack of grandiose flexing. Even the ending, which could have been worked into something far more soaring or pithy, settles into the same steady groove. Well done.
There is a bit written about all these facts on the web (each of the two pilots has written a book about it). The main point is that it really happened, though the real events took only one night and didn't involve the same struggle to survive as what is shown here. The core is the meeting of enemies in a war that had clear lines of combat. Norway was still being fought over (the Germans eventually took control of the country) and so there was a feeling that the two British and three German airmen were equals in a neutral country.
But that doesn't mean they trusted each other. Which brings up the question--why not? What did these five men have to gain, or lose, by being cruel to each other? By killing each other? Yet there were rules of engagement, rules of how to hold prisoners, and even in the weird circumstances here those rules seem to give them a road to follow if nothing else.
There are a few instances of movies exploring enemies coming to see each other compassionately in the midst of war. The closest echo is the 2005 Chilean film, "Mi Mejor Enemigo" which translates as My Best Enemy, and which shows a Chilean and Argentine conflict in the middle of nowhere with the same working against rules and exploring testy friendships. That's recommended, too, if you like this one, though it is often a bit slow. There is something more poignant about the WWII backdrop in this later one, and the dialog, which really does feel like a play, holds up beautifully, delicately.
- Sep 19, 2013