Betrayal (Svik)

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“World War Zzzzz”

“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Nazi world…” That’s an equally appropriate summary here, because the heroine in this flick, set in occupied Norway during World War II, was the lead singer of Aqua, famous (or notorious, if you prefer) for a certain catchy pop ditty. She plays – and I know you’ll find this a stretch – a singer, who works in a nightclub, which caters for high-ranking Nazi officers, while she simultaneously works with the local resistance and beds SS Major Kruger (Otto). The Allies are seeking plans of a local aluminium smelting plant, a key cog in the Third Reich’s war machine, so an airstrike can be called down on to it. Local businessman Tor Lindblom (Saheim) partners with Kruger to profit from the industrial operation, and play both sides, until their pet auditor is replaced by one rather less amenable to their embezzlement.

It’s a very shiny, upbeat approach to a thoroughly unpleasant situation, with little or no death for any significant characters until the final reel. The makers seem to want to say something important about Norwegian collaborators of the time – a final caption tells us that even the worst of them received only a light sentence (it doesn’t mention that puppet president Quisling, who is depicted, was executed by firing squad shortly after the end of the war). What exactly that ‘something important’ might be, is largely unclear: that’s in line with the rest of the plot, which could fairly be described as a muddled mess, with the loyalties of the participants apparently fluid and subject to the whims of the storyline.

Which would be tolerable if any of the other aspects were credible, but neither the performances, nor that script, succeed in capturing the interest of the viewer – Nystrom’s lack of acting experience is particularly notable, and she only really comes to life when on the stage at the club, belting out showtunes. There is a nice sense of period atmosphere, which could be described as “neo-Nazi Norwegian noir“, though much like the story, there’s far too much reliance on worn-out stereotypes in lieu of anything else. While slight tension is finally generated at the end, when Eva breaks for the Swedish border, it’s more the last twitch of a dead corpse than anything of significance.

Dir: Akon Gundersen
Star: Lene Nystrom, Fridtjov Saheim, Gotz Otto, Kare Conradi

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