Archive for April, 2011

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Winter in Wartime

April 25, 2011

Winter in Wartime


Winter In Wartime is a well created film that does a wonderful job in homage to the story that it is based on.  It balances solid acting and a solid story together, and while the production qualities aren’t that of your typical Hollywood film, it holds up quite well.  A film that everyone won’t appreciate, as it is subtitled, it comes across with a fair amount of emotion and some strong emotion as it looks  at the struggles of a small town that has been occupied by the Germans and that of the leading family of the town.

The story revolves around Michiel, the 14 year old son of the Mayor, who doesn’t like his father because of the political games his father is playing.  Michiel wants him to take a hard line against the Nazi’s and their forces, but his father instead tries to walk the line keeping the villagers safe, and Michiel finds that too sympathetic to the Nazi’s.  Michiel accidentally becomes involved with helping a RAF pilot escape after he crashes in the woods just outside of the town.  He does this because his uncle Ben, whom he looks up to, is helping the resistance and Michiel wants to be like him.  Things don’t go as planned when it comes to escaping and Michiel ends up much further over his head than he expects he will.  Everything crumbles around Michiel and he is left with a series of very tough choices to make.

The acting is surprisingly good, you generally expect a need for big names, but Martijn Lakemeir does a very good job in the lead role as Michiel.  He plays a very quiet character in many ways, and that works out very nicely.  Yorick van Wageningen does a good job as Michiel’s Uncle Ben as there turns out to be more depth than expected from the role.  The rest of the cast is solid is well, there aren’t any standout roles, but all the performances are done with an understated dignity about them which plays very well for the serious tone of the film.

Technically the film struggled at times, there were a few points in time where the camera was shaking so badly that it became very hard to watch and the music was very strong in the film, which didn’t work all that well.  It definitely told you which emotion it was attempting to portray, but it was overbearing in a film that had so many understated performances.  Martin Koolhoven did a good job in the direction of this film and did a good job of getting a lot out of his actors.

This is a solid film overall, but not without its issues.  The music and the necessity for a third act really hurt the film.  The story ended very nicely without a tacked on third act that was meant to make everyone feel better, but the resolution felt forced and it was a happy ending that was very much tacked on.  But the rest of the film makes up for the third act, it is just a shame it leaves a bad taste in your  mouth when you see it.

Critical Grade: C-

Entertainment Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B

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