HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
Alien Parasite
Up to His Ears
Showdown
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  12th Man, The Trapped Under The Ice
Year: 2017
Director: Harald Zwart
Stars: Thomas Gullestad, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Marie Blokhus, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Vegar Hoel, Håkon T. Nielsen, Eirik Risholm Velle, Daniel Frikstad, Erik Dirnes, Alexander Zwart, Torgny Gerhard Aanderaa, Håkon Smeby, Axel Barø Aasen, Ole Victor Corral
Genre: WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1943, the Nazis had invaded Norway and occupied it, with the help of some collaborators though there were many more who were horrified their country was now under enemy control. The Allied forces were keen to sabotage the Germans in Scandinavia, and provided Norwegian soldiers in exile with missions to do precisely that, including one which ended swiftly in disaster as all twelve of the soldiers were shot or captured. Well, almost all twelve: one man got away, Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) and began an incredible journey through the ice and snow to reach neutral Sweden and freedom, though he did not get to where he ended up alone: he had plenty of help.

The 12th Man was a Norwegian film itself, a tale of a true-life war hero that you get the impression was made for those who were familiar with the facts more than the foreigners who may not get the same resonance from it. That was presumably why we begin the film in Scotland where Baalstrud has survived and is about to pass on the top secret information to the British authorities, then flash back to a few weeks before, when we were offered the aftermath of the twelve men's boat being blown up and the Nazis firing upon them. Not that he escapes unscathed, as practically from the off he has his big toe shot off in a hail of bullets, leaving him with a limp for the rest of the plot.

That became a running theme, yes, Baalstrud was lucky to be alive and engaged in some impressive escapes, but it always came at a terrible price, and his body was near-constantly prey to various ailments and conditions that at any moment could kill him just as easily as an enemy bullet. Rapper Gullestad was not laboured with too much character work to flesh out the protagonist, he was mostly there as a presence to be punished and respected, so even his dialogue was not too extensive. He was not completely silent or anything, but director Harald Zwart presented him in the most pared down, basic terms possible, so we could concentrate on his remarkable achievements.

That said, the real Baalstrud was notably modest about being a war hero, claiming the real heroes were those who helped him get through his ordeal, the best of the ordinary Norwegian people since they did not buckle under oppression, but were brave enough to strike back in the best way they could while still being aware the lives of their loved ones, not to mention their own, were in danger if they chose to assist any rebellion. The 12th Man, or Den 12. Mann as it was called originally, was part of the endurance genre of filmmaking, though not because they were an endurance test to sit through, albeit they aimed to be harrowing in places, all the better to make their lead characters look more laudable for getting through their adventure. You could possibly trace this back to Cornel Wilde's trendsetter The Naked Prey back in the sixties.

Though Wilde had to wait a few years before the survival through gruelling conditions genre really became a "thing", with occasional drop ins like Richard Harris in A Man Called Horse or even the nonsense of Cannibal Ferox. The difference here was the Second World War setting, so no bloodthirsty natives hunting the man down, and not as in Tracks where Mia Wasikowska's test of mettle was entirely self-created, an alternative variant, here the Nazis served as the threat and Jonathan Rhys Meyers was the Gestapo man Kurt Stage dead set on stopping Baalstrud, as you can imagine a ruthless pursuer who has no qualms about using torture and even murder to get his way. That he does not, ultimately, get his way provided some satisfaction though Swart's insistence on having the audience feel every trudging step through the snow did go against how enjoyable this was to watch. It was the fact that people can decide, no, I'm not going to participate and support evil in my land that generated the final cheering flourish, though we were never in any doubt that even good has consequences. Music by Christophe Beck.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3444 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: