Sometimes I just get sick of everything I’ve been watching or that I’ve put on my list to watch. I start itching to see something totally new and fresh to me. Something I haven’t heard of at all before I start watching it. Now, I’m not completely insane, so I usually at least check the IMDB scores before I start a new movie. (If I want something really good, I want that score to be a 7.0 or higher. If I’m feeling more loosey goosey, I might bite on something in the mid to low 6’s. Anything lower than that, and I’m just not going to waste my time without someone’s solid recommendation to persuade me otherwise.)
Last week, I was back in that spot. I wanted to watch something new, and so I started looking through the action offerings on Netflix. I came across The Twelfth Man, the true story of 12 Norwegian saboteurs fighting against the Nazis in Norway after the country had been invaded in WWII. The saboteurs were ambushed. 11 of them died, and one of them escaped. The movie traces his efforts to get out of the country alive. It’s got a 7.4 on IMDB, and it’s Norwegian made. I hit play as soon as I read the total rating.
I was really impressed with the movie overall. I had never heard of the story of Jan Baalsrud before, and so it was incredible to see what he went through, and even more surprising to read up on it afterwards and see how much of what’s depicted actually happened.
I have to put in a disclaimer, however, because the movie is pretty brutal. Let’s just start off by saying that any movie that begins with the hero jumping into sub-zero ocean water and then fleeing into the Norwegian wilderness in mid-winter (with one bare foot!) isn’t going to be all sunshine and strawberries. And the film doesn’t shy away from showing exactly what Baalsrud had to do to stay alive. So if you’ve got a thing about gore, then either watch something else, or be prepared to clench your eyes shut a few times.
But if that doesn’t turn you away and you’re into tense war films, then definitely watch the movie. It was riveting from start to finish. My only critique would be that it came across as almost propaganda at times. The Germans are simply so bloodthirsty that it’s hard not to feel manipulated. I would have suggested pulling back a bit on that side of things, though I suppose for all I know all of that was true to life as well. But other than that, the movie was very strong throughout.
If only all the random movies I chose to watch ended up being so good. 8.5/10. Great stuff.
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