- Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: SHOUT! FACTORY
- DVD Release Date: 2 Oct 2018
- Run Time: 131 minutes
- Customer Reviews: 230 customer ratings
- ASIN: B07FB7NT1X
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An Incredible True-Life Story Of Heroism And A Mans Unbreakable Will To Live.
Norway, 1943: After a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his eleven comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) finds himself on the run from the Gestapo through the snowbound Arctic reaches of Scandinavia. Its a harrowing journey across unforgiving frozen wilderness: one that will stretch on for months and force Jan to take extreme action in order to survive. With gut-punching realism and vivid psychological immediacy, director Harold Zwart pays tribute to one mans extraordinary courage and to the everyday heroes who helped him along the way.
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Top international reviews
A moving and completely immersive film. You're on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next. I was worried that the subtitles would detract from the experience, but in some ways they enhance it. It's not particularly dialogue-heavy, but is very easy to follow and you don't miss a thing visually either.
Beautifully filmed with some excellent performances from the supporting cast. It really is a heartwarming story of the tremendous sacrifice the Norwegians gave in order to survive the occupation.
How this film hasn't received many international awards I do not know. All I can suggest is that you buy it. It's 130 minutes you won't regret spending. Just keep a cushion handy to hide behind when Jan is performing surgery on himself and turn the heating up, because it's all set in the snow and you'll be feeling chilly by the end!
Based around an incredible WWII commando mission in Nazi occupied Norway, the film does a good job of depicting the people (mainly civilians) that were involved.
This is no short film, it couldn't be, if it is to give even a hint of a feeling of what went on and of the time that it took, but the two-hour-ten-minute film has too much repetition and too little variation to the story.
With the exception of clothes that look too clean and ironed (having just come straight from the wardrobe department) to be believable as clothes worn by those involved (especially the German soldiers), with that ever-present problem of period dramas aside, everything else looks pretty convincing. Allegedly, lead actor Thomas Gullestad who plays Jan Baalsrud lost 33lbs in eight weeks for the role (that's over half-a-pound a day) and ended up with frost damage after being exposed to minus thirty degrees centigrade temperatures. Also lead Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Myers had to learn his German lines in two months and he doesn't normally speak German. So plenty of commitment from some of the actors, but as the really impressive thing about the story is that it actually happened, and once you are aware of that (and one is told at the start of the film what the outcome is) there is then a danger of the film becoming tedious. The audience is presented with a number of on screen statements saying that Jan Baalsrud has been in “this location” for “x” amount of time so that it doesn't become even more tedious.
I think a good film has been made given the constraints of the story (since a great deal of the time there was very little happening other than waiting and a bit more waiting), but if you know the story then a two-hour film needs more happening in it to make more “entertaining” (as the trailer had suggested) and less “documentary-esque”.
I know not to give too much significance to trailers when I watch them, but the trailer I saw for this film suggested a different film than the one I watched.
Jan Baalsrud's story and that of the civilians involved is a story that deserves to be told, and I applaud all those involved for having made the film.
(Three-and-a-half stars out of five.)
On the DVD (ASIN: B07KH1FH1L)
“The 12th Man” (2 hours 10 minutes)
Set Up: 5.2 Surround, 2.1 Stereo
English Subtitles are available, they are embedded and are not optional.
In 2001 a homage or revision of the book was written by a modern author, recreating the route taken and recounting more on the people who helped him. It gave me a poor recollection of the story, and a resolve to read the original account. This new book is apparently the basis for this film script, and I can see certain parallels to it. It is overlong in sections (130 mins in total), but it's difficult to get across the solitude that Baalsrud suffered, other than flashing up the days spent under this rock, in that cabin, etc. The power of the written word was not matched. Where the film excelled was conveying the harshness of the weather conditions.
The reason for the mark down was the divergence from the true events, by adding in a dastardly German who pursued him - although the man did serve in Norway at the time, he did not feature in the account of Baalsrud, who did think he was being pursued. The ending was not as I remember it, he did make it to Sweden, only not by this films dramatic effort. I do find it frustrating that a film pursues the true events faithfully, and then for no obvious reason takes a Hollywood moment, to question the integrity of the account.
A background of Norwegian resistance against the German occupation of 🇳🇴 in ww2 working with the Swedish and Saami...