Like 2008’s “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” the Dutch-born film “Winter in Wartime” is set in World War II, and explores what happens when a youth gets involved with the other side of the fence — here, figuratively.
In 1945, teenage Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier, in his acting debut) is intrigued by the Dutch Resistance movement to Nazi occupation going on almost literally in his own backyard. He rides his bike alongside marching, jackbooted soldiers as if it’s standard operating procedure for a child to do. But when a British plane crashes spectacularly in the forest, Michiel crosses the line from outside observer to active participant.
Investigating the site of the downed aircraft, he meets Jack (Jamie Campbell Bower, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”), its injured pilot, hiding and suffering. Perhaps because Jack is a mere few years older, Michiel befriends and aids the wounded soldier. At first, it’s just about bringing him food to stay alive. Later, it’s about plotting an escape before the German troops find him, which could result in both of their deaths.
Released in its native land in 2008, “Winter in Wartime” makes its Oklahoma debut Friday, playing exclusively at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24. Writer/director Martin Koolhoven’s movie was the Netherlands’ official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, although it failed to receive a nomination among the fated five.
It’s a tense, if not intense, drama-cum-thriller that’s not your average coming-of-age tale, as Michiel gets so far in over his head, shades of the current “Hanna” make a third-act appearance.
True to its title, “Winter” is most memorable for its look; the picture is bathed in blues so icy, viewers will feel its chill.