Kongens nei Review

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Penoos Aras
updated
  • 4/5

With a Father who fought in World War II, and as a baby boom child raised in the 1960’s I’ve grown up hearing about, reading about, and learning about The Second World War. But as I’ve aged into my 60’s I’ve grown old enough, wise enough, and just a little impatient enough with the standard “...this is how America saved the World from Hitler” story. As a result I’ve become much more interested in the stories of all the “smaller, weaker” nations which were subjugated by The Nazi’s in 1939, 1940, and 1941. Which is why THIS film “The King’s Choice” reverberates and is important...maybe even vital. It is the hour-by-hour depiction of Norwegian King Haakon VII’s flight from Oslo into the Norwegian hinterlands in the first 3 days of the invasion of his country by Nazi Germany in April 1940. What most Americans have never taken the time to learn is that in 1940, with the Second World War already 8 months old; Norway continued to insist to Germany, Great Britain, and France that as a nation Norway was officially neutral...not on ANYBODY’s side in the war! That first week in April 1940 The Norwegians would actually see their country invaded not only by Nazi Germany but also by Britain and France...its just that the Germans beat the British and French to the punch by about 5 days. And Haakon VII, a Democratically selected King with ceremonial powers only was hunted by Nazi paratroopers. The Germans desperately wanted to kidnap The King, persuade him to sign papers “inviting” Germany into Norway to defend Norway against invading British and French troops. Haakon, under pressure, fleeing from farm to farm...literally leading a cabinet of government ministers in a caravan of cars on snowy Norwegian backroads and on the lam, was conflicted as to what he should do. Give himself up? Let The Nazi’s grab him? Sign their ultimatum? Avoid War and it’s inevitable slaughter? Haakon VII has to dodge a few bombs himself in the forests of Norway while he and his family are on the run. But a Nazi diplomatic envoy finally catches up and demands his signature, which The King is promised, will halt further bombing. This is “The King’s Choice”. Does he sign his country over to The Nazi’s? Will he lay down and let Hitler gobble up Norway? Haakon decides he will not. Norway is plunged into war with Germany. We know how that turned out. 500,000 German soldiers eventually spent 5 years occupying Norway. What I find interesting and beautifully depicted in this film is how one Sovereign tasked with an enormous responsibility weighs the pro’s & con’s but also never forgets what his subjects, the Norwegian people want. Freedom, honor, dignity. Norway did not , would not give up and surrender such as the Danes, The Dutch, and the French did with such haste. In point of fact Norway was still fighting the Nazi’s when Germany invaded France later the same spring. This is a very detailed movie. It’s talky. It’s in Norwegian with English sub-titles. There are two combat scenes and they are realistic and well-staged but this movie is more about a King of a freedom-loving, Peace-loving people coming to the realisation that a fight is unavoidable. I would recommend this film to any student of History but especially to young people who have little or no factual information about what was happening to all the “other” counties involved in World War II aside from The a United States and Great Britain. “The King’s Choice” is very intelligent, extremely well-crafted, and a very good film . Seek it out and you will have a much better idea what Hitler was pushing the world into 80 years ago which became the most catastrophic disastrr in modern history. World War II.

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