January 11th, 2009

Film review: Max Manus

Max Manus was a Norwegian resistance fighter - aka guerilla, saboteur, terrorist, hero, $insert_your_politically_correct_term - who fought for the Norwegian resistance movement during WW2. He mined several smaller German ships inside Oslo port, and was responsible for the mining of the transport ship Donau in 1945.

This film tells the story about him and the rest of his group - those who lived and those who died. In Norwegian history books groups like this are covered well, with a heroic view. Collateral damage is not covered (at least not when I learned it), and the Germans' revenge by killing Norwegians are not closely connected to these groups' actions, but rather covered as German evilness.

The film tells what it has to tell, and not much more: there is a list of main actions this group was responsible for, and they must all be covered. In addition they cover some preparations for the group as such and for the specific actions, and that's about it. In particular no disturbing love story is told, as it would in most Hollywood films (Pearl Harbor, for instance). Yes, Max Manus falls in love, and the story is mentioned, but it's not elaborated a lot beyond what's necessary for the war story.

The film as such was a good one - lots of historically correct costumes, really good work on resetting Oslo from 2008 to the early 40ies. A lot of the main scenes are filmed on location in Oslo, they have done a tremendous job hiding all the wires, cars, mobile antennas, ads, garbage cans and everything else that has spread across the city over the last 60 years - and then taming hundreds of people to act in a historically correct setting: no chewing gums, don't be tempted to take a picture of this gorgeous setting with your mobile phone or digital camera, don't push the hat 5 cm further back on your head, walk right, hide your glasses and watch etc etc. (a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1029235/goofs">Three goofs</a> are listed at IMDB - especially the one about a sign being printed in a modern font was hilarious :-))

Absolutely a good film, recommended for anyone living in Norway and anyone interested in films about WW2, or just interested in learning a bit more about the Norwegian resistance movement during WW2. Apparently almost everything is historically correct, with Tikken Manus (Max' wife) and a member of his resistance group as important consultants, so it is no need to read a lot of Norwegian war history first to check what's going on. The only main event I have seen questions about is Max Manus' participation in the Finnish Winter War in 1939/40 - apparently he was never actually fighting there.

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Weekend roundup

A nice, pretty relaxing weekend :-) Yesterday I did...nothing. more or less. Went for a walk, grocery shopping, read a bit.. In the evening we went to the cinema, and had a beer with some friends afterwards. Very late to bed - perhaps not the best, since we had invited some friends for an early dinner today. Arild and Silja came with their 10 months old son, and MH and Kristian came for dinner today, I made lamb stew with rice, and apple cake with vanilla cream mixed in with the apples for dessert. Quite yummy. It was nice to see them again, I hope we can invite friends for more dinners now when I am not jumping and have many weekends off. So stay tuned, folks :-)

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