World War II’s air wars.
Two enemy planes battle each other and crash.
Three German pilots. Two British pilots. One cabin in the freezing Norwegian wilderness for them to share.
Talk about survival.
Though based on actual events, this movie does not showcase important historic figures, unsung heroes, or even action-filled dramatizations. These men were, in the grand scheme of things, nobodies whose story, decisions, and actions did not change history. Their experience is closer to that of the regular person, making the story universal and something people can relate to.
Here are some of what viewers can learn from this movie:
-prepare and cook a rabbit
-amputate a limb (and what to do with the amputated limb)
-make moss into soup
-use a compass for disinfecting
-what to use for toilet paper when you run out
-where to get firewood in the middle of nowhere
-hold up a roof without a support beam
Chances are the average person does not know these things, and they make for rather comic moments in the movie without becoming slapstick.
This movie possesses an understated quality and humor to it and a distinctly non-American perspective. There are moments of vulnerability, uncertainty, and human decency, captured well by the actors. At its core, this story focuses on people and human nature. They make the film more than just a survival story or a sentimental one about enemies who become friends.
The men’s experience, learning, and orders do not prepare them for handling their situation, and they have to make do, with only common sense and decency to guide them (and, yes, they make plenty of mistakes before the end). The movie captures well the tension when assumptions clash with reality and when the times the men live in impose its own harsh reality. It is especially poignant when they see how war made them enemies, leaving no room for anything else.
Look for Into the White in the VBPL Catalog. For more information about the air war, try the Bomber Boys documentary, the Warbirds of WWII documentary, and The Bombersand the Bombed: Allied Air War over Europe book by R.J. Overy.