Flukten over grensen (2020)
Well-meaning, thoughtful rendition – partly based on real-life events – about how four children, two ethnic Norwegians and two Jews, flee on foot from German soldiers in cold Norwegian winter conditions during World War II. Their destination is neutral, safe Sweden. And their journey involves several physical and mental challenges, not least the wavering loyalty between the children themselves. The writer Maja Lunde, upon whose 2012 novel the film is based, clearly wants to make parallels to current state of affairs regarding racial discrimination and integration, something when coupled with the lead actors' obvious contemporaneity at times gives the film a too modern and forced feel. That being said, the child actors do very well to carry the film and bring the story forward. They bring naturalness (Skarholt, Steine), tension (Lindquist-Ellingsen), and charm (Ghilardi-Hellsten) to the table, and they create a sympathetic, composite group in what is not always the simplest of circumstances. Because although the story has merit and is fascinating, first-time feature director Johanne Helgeland isn't always able to make the most of it. The action sequences are lacking spatially and are not as well edited as they could have been. And the narrative comes off as a little too neat and child-friendly. The latter may of course have been fully intended. The film is solid and works, but young audiences today can handle more complexity and realism than what Flukten fra grensen is able to convey.