Without question, the war genre is an extremely crowded space; however, Netflix has provided some remarkable military films lately. The Oscar-nominated All Quiet on the Western Front, Mosul, and The Forgotten Battle are just three war films that have set a high bar on the platform.
How does Narvik measure up to previous releases? Let's find out. It's a Norwegian production, so you'll have to pick between subtitles and dubbing. I understand some people are not into reading text on screen, but for most, this is not a big issue.
What Is Narvik About?
The movie's name was derived from a tiny Norwegian coastal town that became the site of one of World War II's most pivotal battles.
Norway's iron ore was indispensable to the British and German military campaigns. For a short while in 1940, Narvik found itself stuck between the opposing foes, as the British and Germans fought fiercely for control of the precious iron ore exported from this town.
In the middle of this titanic struggle are a young Soldier, his wife, and their son. Gunnar, a corporal in the Norwegian Army, is determined to defend his town from the German occupation, while his wife, Ingrid, is determined to protect her son at all costs.
The film's central arc revolves around these three characters and their decisions during the battle. Early on in the movie, Gunner is tasked with a dangerous mission that forces him to leave his family in the town. Ingrid is left in the chaos of Narvik, where she must work with the Germans to ensure her son's survival.
Narvik Official Trailer
Is Narvik Worth Watching
On release, Narvik shot up the Netflix rankings and broke into the coveted top ten list. Proving that the appetite for war films is still strong.
However, I can't help but feel that this story got a bit lost. Narvik is neither one thing nor another; the action sequences are compelling but infrequent. While Ingrid's narrative feels like something is missing or her character is underdeveloped.
As an audience member, you get the impression that they were attempting two different stories at once, and yet neither succeeds fully in being told properly. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this movie. It is well-shot, and the cast is solid.
Instead of cramming too much into nearly two hours, I think Netflix's Narvik would have been better suited to a limited series format; then, perhaps it could've reached its full potential. Nevertheless, it's still worth watching!
Narvik features a strong cast with some well-known faces.
Leading the charge is Carl Martin Eggesbø as Gunnar. He's a relative newcomer but has been in a number of Scandinavian productions. He does well to bring a sense of humanity to the character that is sometimes missing from war films.
His wife, Ingrid, is played by Kristine Hartgen, who's known for her role in Catch and Release. I enjoyed her performance; she brought a quiet strength to her character.
Rounding out the cast is Henrik Mestad (Norsemen), Stig Henrik Hoff (Into The White), and Christoph Bach (Charité), who plays a key role as a German Consul officer.
Other Movies Like Narvik
If you're searching for an enthralling war movie on Netflix, I highly recommend The Bombardment, a Danish production that tells the real story of how an RAF raid mistakenly targeted a convent school in Copenhagen during WWII. This was one of my favourite films of 2021, and it's definitely worth a watch.
If you're looking for a more traditional war story, Netflix's Danger Close might be just what you need. It follows the heroic struggle of Australian Soldiers in Vietnam and the sacrifices they made. The cast is strong, and the action will have you on the edge of your seat.
Last but not least, Netflix's Barbarians tells the story of Arminius and his army of Germanic tribes fighting for freedom against the mighty Roman war machine. It's a classic underdog tale with some epic battle scenes.