Halle Berry works in an emergency response centre. We know that it’s a low-status job because she has frizzy hair.
Into the White.
Two aircrews, one German and one British, are downed over Norway in 1940. They end up sheltering together in a hunting cabin. At first the British are prisoners of the Germans before the tables are turned; but the conditions outside force the men to work together to survive before the Norwegians rescue them.
The Germans are led by Horst Schopis who admits that he’s not the best pilot in the Luftwaffe. He has little to go back to in Germany because his wife left him the week before.
The taciturn Strunk is an older man who ran a small business, but volunteered because he thought it was his duty. It is obvious that he would prefer to be an artist.
The youngest member of the crew, Schwartz, is rather idealistic. His treasured possession is an autographed copy of Mein Kampf. In the battle he was wounded in the arm.
The Brits are led by Captain Davenport, who appears to be some sort of toff.
His subordinate is Gunner Smith (Rupert Grint), a foul-mouthed1 Scouser who is also a champion darts player.
This is a ship-in-a-bottle film and although it has its moments (sad and tragic), it isn’t especially interesting. The way in which the two sides are portrayed is also a weakness. Schopis and Strunk are fairly sympathetic characters2 who implicitly have concerns other than fighting Hitler’s war. Schwartz suffers from the folly of youth, and can’t quite see that the sun doesn’t shine out of the Führer’s arse. On the British side, Davenport is an arrogant cipher and then just becomes a cipher. Smith is provocative and annoying. Neither character holds any attractions.
The Norwegians, who shot Strunk even although he was no threat to them at the time, cannot quite understand why the British did not shoot the Germans, but Davenport observes that they were trying to survive.
Schopis and Schwartz were transported to a POW camp in Canada. Ironically, not long after returning to England, Davenport and Smith were sent out in a raid over Trondheim where they were shot down. Smith was killed, but Davenport survived and was a POW for the rest of the war.
He and Schopis were reunited in 1977 when the former invited the latter to London.
- My theory about Grint doing the most swearing in the film is that he said “bloody” a few times in the Harry Potter films. The alternative theory is that he’s trying to shake off the image of Ron Weasley by being a thoroughly unlikeable, vulgar oik. If Emma Watson had been cast as Smith, she would’ve taken her clothes off instead.
- I suspect that there may be two reasons for this. One is that this is Schopis’ account of the story because there was an acknowledgement in Norwegian at the end of the film which appeared to refer to his wife. The other reason may be because (if I remember my history correctly) Britain invaded Norway in 1940, which may still annoy the Norwegians.