Updated for a skeptical age, this new World War II movie comes impeccably groomed in period-attentive tans and grays; is written in non-heroic dialogue to suggest ambiguities in the good-evil dichotomies of war stories past; and is sufficiently hopped-up with thrills to warrant the interest of a U.S. distributor.
Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Jan Terlouw, Martin Koolhoven’s Winter in Wartime is an efficient, absorbing example of the form framed in a boy’s coming-of-age story set in a snowbound rural Holland in 1945
Yet the boy finds it increasingly difficult to tell which of his beloved immediate family and the village elders is a resister, an informer or an appeaser of the occupying Nazis. That’s the interesting part, but Koolhoven’s philosophical probing of human limitation among the good guys — and of what that complexity might mean to a credulous lad hungry for role models — is all but overwhelmed by his commercial instincts and undeniable skill at juggling realism with genre. Grade: B-
Opens April 29. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.