Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Into the White" with Stig Henrik Hoff, David Kross and Lachlan Nieboer (2012)

On April 27, 1940 two enemy planes; one British, one German; fought in the skies over Norway. They shot one another down and crash landed miles from anywhere. The Germans left their plane and spent the night in the snow. The British spent the night in their plane. What happened next is one of the most extraordinary set of events to arise out of the Second World War.

Within days of the shoot down, the two crews; 3 Germans and 2 Englishmen; find themselves vying for control of the same rustic hunting cabin. They must come to terms with one another and learn to work as a team or they will die. It’s that simple. Florian Lukas is convincing as the German Lieutenant Horst Schopis, and Lachlan Nieboer is equally effective as RAF Captain Charles P. Davenport. The two struggle at first to keep their respective subordinates in line, while struggling with their own doubts and fears.
At first tempers flare and the men all struggle for control of the 3 weapons which the German flyers possess. The balance of power shifts back and forth in this amazing and true story. The Germans have the upper hand at first, but as the captors they must provide for the captives. This grows old fast. And when the guns change hands the British flyers find that they cannot care for their captives as well as the Germans had cared for them; albeit unwillingly at first.

Soon, reality sets in and the men realize that they must discard their petty differences or they will never make it until the spring thaw. At this point they begin to understand the futility of the war they have been fighting and even contemplate remaining where they are for the duration.

When the Norwegian Patrol gets word that someone is living at the cabin they set off to capture the men; whom they believe to be German. When they find the two enemies living in harmony they are incensed. While they understand that the Germans had the guns they cannot understand why the British did not kill them when the guns changed hands. It appears that the British are going to be charged with collaborating with the enemy.

The Germans are led away to a POW camp for the duration, while the 2 RAF flyers are returned to duty, where they are shot down and imprisoned for the rest of the war. In 1977 Captain Davenport of the RAF called Lt. Schopis and invited him to London where the 2 former enemies finally became friends.

This movie is a real statement about war and human nature. Tersely directed so that you feel every moment of the cold and indecision, the film invites you to think about the difference between blind duties and simple humanity. That is a bold statement in and of itself.

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