This film depicting the largest bank robbery in Norwegian history, the assault on the cash depot Nokas in Stavanger in 2004, has been heavily criticized domestically for coming too soon, largely because the crime resulted in the death of a police officer in the line of duty, which is a rare occurrence in Norway. Arguably because of this situation, the producers of Nokas have been utterly careful not to step on any toes - and ultimately overly so, because the film is almost void of sentiment, interpretation and psychological profiling. The narrative is superficial, and the characterizations hollow, almost non-existent. Instead director Erik Skjoldbjærg has chosen a pragmatic, semi-documentary approach using a lot of handheld, out-of-focus camera and mostly unprofessional or untrained actors.
The result of this is a distanced and depersonalized film, despite an anything but distant approach to the action scenes, which on the other hand are crisp, direct and unvarnished. If the filmmakers do reveal a stance here, it is in their portrayal of the Stavanger police force as impotent, shorthanded and unorganized. Their actions seem almost casual, depending on individual resourcefulness, culminating in Erik Håland's more or less successful one-man enforcement.
In the end, Nokas is lacking in several departments, and it probably won't make much of an impact with viewers who have no connection to or knowledge about this case. It is too restrained and delimited for that. Still, there is no reason to believe that the filmmakers haven't been faithful to the facts, and in the history of Norwegian crime, this is an interesting and timely document of an incident which arguably matured our small and somewhat naïve nation.