ICM’s Review: Into the White

Somewhere over the …
snowy Norwegian mountains two airplanes crash-landed on April 27th 1940. Nearly 72 years later, a film about the events celebrated its premiere at the Folketeateret in Oslo on March 4th, 2012.

Just like the German pilots in the film, the audience is immediately thrown into the Norwegian wilderness and has no better idea what to do than them. When Horst Schopis (Florian Lukas) falls into a snow cave, you already get an idea that you are in for a few laughs. While you are struggling with the Germans through the endless snow you are introduced to Josef Schwartz‘ (David Kross) obsession with Hitler and his ideas, when he reads from “Mein Kampf” and proudly shows Hitler’s autograph to his companions: “I was waiting in line for six hours to get this autograph!”

After Wolfgang Strunk (Stig Henrik Hoff, whose German is near perfect) has ended up in a life-threatening situation, you even get a sense of relief when they reach the cabin and the feeling that this will not be a honeymoon.

With the arrival of the British pilots, the fun begins:

While Schopis and Davenport (Lachlan Nieboer) keep up a cock fight on an elevated level, which gets his high point when Davenport und Schopis flex their muscles by trying to prevent the whole cabin from falling down, Robert Smith (Rupert Grint) does his best to annoy the Germans at any given opportunity: “Maybe you’re too fucking stupid to feel the cold?” We have to admit that he is only acting under orders, but we get kind of a feeling that he is really enjoying it. At the same time he earns a “What did he say?” after almost every second line which is quite funny and sometimes eases the tention between the Germans and Britsh, even though it is not his intention.


We learn how to skin a rabbit, have fun watching them play “spin the pistol” and get an impression of Horst Schopis’ and Wolfgang Strunk’s dancing qualities. But, despite all the fun, we also see them struggling with the cold, hunger and the desperation of not knowing where they are and how to get out.

One of the greatest things in the film is the developement of Smith’s and Strunk’s relationship. In the beginning it is just Smith trying to provocate Strunk, who is a reserved and calm person, in every situation he can, but like Smith, we get a deeper insight into Strunk’s personality and they almost become friends, which both actors show in such a believable way: “I come with you.” “Good.”

The enmity between Smith and Schwartz is omnipresent, and Rupert and David both seem to have perfected the if-looks-could-kill expression, and continuously rile each other up. We’ve all seen a piece of the scene, where Smith comes back after taking a loo, saying: “Hey Josef, I must say chapter two was a little rough on my arse.” Let us just say: Smith is very creative in finding more and more ways of provocating Schwartz and that was just one of them.

All five actors are giving an amazing and believable performance. Despite each characters’ negative moments, you develop a sympathy for each one of them. There is no good guy or bad guy, no right or wrong; it’s just five blokes in a cabin struggling to survive. Nothing else matters anymore.

Credit to Florian Lukas and Lachlan Nieboer, who portray the vulnerability of their characters while they struggle to maintain the cold and perfect image of a soldier-in-control on such an impressiv way.

We get to see a completely new side of Rupert’s acting: He’s behaving like a nuisance, but you can’t help but like him. Maybe that’s because Smithy is a womanizer, having impressed the hard-to-get bartender Sheila at the airbase with his special abilities.
Rupert surprises with a great singing scene, and it is a very moving moment when the lost pilots are looking out over the endless scenery to the line:

“blue birds fly over the rainbow, why, then, oh why can’t I”.


It is great to see the five characters finding out that they will only survive if they work together, and a scene when Schopis destroys an object representing Hitler’s ideology even earned applause from the audience.

Beside the five comrades, there is one more main character who has to be mention and that is definitely the Norwegian countryside. We already saw so many amazing pictures when the movie was shot back in April, but seeing it now on the big screen was overwhelming. The title “Into The White” fits perfectly and there is not much more to say. Petter Næss shows us the beauty and inviolacy of the Norwegian snow desert, but we also see the other side. The wilderness, rawness and the danger that comes with the difficult weather conditions.
Nils Petter Molvaer did a great job with composing a soundtrack that perfectly underlined the story without being intrusively or disturbing. It puts you into the right mood, specially in the quiet scenes, and represent the Norwegian countryside in a perfect way.

If you got the impression, we loved the movie, your absolutly right! We’ve been enchained from the moment the first shadow with the silhouette of an airplane rises over the Norwegian snow desert, until the moment the five comrades have to say goodbye. Petter Næss took us on a rollercoaster of emotions that we can’t wait to climb again and we are sure that you will feel the same.