The Dutch drama Winter In Wartime is a gripping story that depicts a challenging time during World War II when the Germans occupied Holland. Extremely well acted, brilliant cinematography and a suspenseful storyline make this film a must see. The compelling film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Dutch author JAN TERLOUW who experienced five years under German occupation.
The film centers on Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) a young teenager growing up in a time were the world has lost touch with brotherhood and moved on to an evil time of occupation and hostility. World War II has entered a tailspin, but for small towns in Holland the resistance still lives on trying to hold out until an end to the German atrocities. With most of his village on edge, Michiel tries to keep out of danger. But with his discovery a downed British flyer (Jamie Campbell Bower) and his Uncle (Yorick van Wageningen) a member of the resistance moving into his home, it isn’t very easy not to get involved. When the Germans arrest his father (Raymond Thiry) after finding a dead soldier, Michiel has to make some challenging decisions that could put his family in jeopardy.
I enjoyed the story for its shocking elements involving the youngster who has to come of age during an appalling time in history. Well acted by Lakemeier as the boy who looses a chance to grow up in a normal society and face the atrocities of a cruel occupation by the Nazis filled with greed and a lust for power. Lakemeier makes his character strong and willing to sacrifice all for his country even if it may affect his own future.
The keen direction by Martin Koolhoven shows the suspenseful and distasteful time with which his characters have to deal. He weaves the story around young Michiel making him the thread that ties the script together. His strict control of the brilliant camera crew to get his movie gives the viewer an opportunity to feel the effects of the damning war.
Winter In Wartime is rated R for some language. It also contains war related violence and a scene of sexuality. The film is acted out in the Dutch language with English subtitles.