Winter In Wartime: Movie Review
Cast: Martijn Lakemeier,
Yorick van Wageningen, Jamie Campbell Bower
Director: Martin Koolhoven
Set in the
last winter of World War II, Nazi occupied Holland is under siege - both from
the Germans and a blanket of snow.
15 year old
Michiel (Lakemeier) is one of those who is appalled by the Nazis and wants to
join the Resistance in some form of other. Despite being inspired by his Uncle
Ben and warned off by his father who's the mayor of the town, Michiel ends up
helping a crashed pilot (Campbell Bower). It's this act of defiance which sets
in motion a series of events which will end Michiel's teenage years in ways he
could never imagine as he finds his innocence shattered forever.
Winter In Wartime was the official Dutch entry into
the Academy Awards this year - and it's beautifully shot and captures the
atmosphere of the time excellently, The story's well told and is captivating
from beginning to end - there's an ease to the central performance from
Lakemeier which makes it easy to watch. He captures the petulance of the teenage
years, the conflict with his mayor father who wants to protect him from the
troubles and the desire to grow up and be treated like a man very well.
Campbell Bower (Twilight: New Moon star) interacts
well with Lakemeier and the pair invest a fair amount of emotion into their
friendship. While all of the cast's performances are solid, the film does follow
a slightly predictable path - when Michiel finally bonds with his father, the
war comes crashing into their world. It's a little predictable - as is the twist
towards the end which if you're savvy can be seen coming a mile off.
However, that doesn't lessen the impact of the film
- while there appears to be a glut of war films on the slate this year (Max
Manus, Home By Christmas to name but two) each of them deserve your time in the
Winter In Wartime succeeds as a tale of
lost innocence and thanks to the universal story, you may find yourself dragged
more into this world than you would expect.