Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s latest war drama was bound to garner a lot of attention with a subject like the battles of Narvik. Especially now that it is available for streaming on Netflix, “Narvik” has quickly risen to the top ten charts of many countries, unsurprisingly.

As a movie, though, it is just about serviceable. The war (or anti-war) drama genre has certain unavoidable tropes. But many great movies can come out of it with the right kind of treatment and, most importantly, when a visionary director helms it. While “Narvik” does follow the actual happenings, its generic story for the sake of a dramatic narrative doesn’t let it soar much higher. The only exception is the climax, which raises an essential question: what comes first, loyalty to country or family?

Narvik (2022): Plot summary and movie synopsis

April 1940. Norway’s neutral stance in World War II is endangered when the Germans take over the quiet town of Narvik, and war commences between the Germans and the British. The Norwegians are caught in the crossfire, and an apparently peaceful takeover by the Germans slowly becomes hostile. The reason behind all this is the Swedish ore supplied to the Germans through the coast of Narvik, and the British saw an opportunity to take control. Although the British are more of an ally of the Norwegians than the Germans.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Who are the Tofte family?

Narvik understandably puts the Tofte family in the middle of the war-related conflicts to frame its dramatic narrative. But it is done so that the movie appears to be more of a story of this particular family than everything else. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Tofte family has four members: Gunner, who is a corporal in the Norwegian army; his wife Ingrid, who is fluent in English, German, and Norwegian, which gives her an opportunity to work as a translator for all the parties while also waitressing at a local hotel; the couple’s six-year-old son Ole; and finally, Gunner’s father, Aslak.

What happens to the Tofte family?

Right before the Germans take control of Narvik, Gunner and Ingrid have a night of romance to themselves. As a result of that, Gunner fails to get back to the army camp on time. Through the eyes of a flustered Gunner, we slowly get accustomed to the chaotic situation where the Germans ask the Norwegian to surrender. The major of the Norwegian army agrees, but then we find out that they have a very different plan in reality. The major and his group of soldiers, including Gunner, plan to blast a bridge that connects Narvik with Sweden so that the Germans can’t get through it.

Meanwhile, Ingrid helps two British officials to hide from the Germans. She sends them away to a secluded place in the mountain with the help of her friend Bjorg. Following that, Ingrid leaves with Ole and Aslak to pass through the tunnel before the Norwegian soldier blasts the bridge. Gunner communicates the news to his father, who stays back and asks Ingrid to get away with the little kid.

The Norwegian soldiers do manage to blast the bridge with dynamite. However, in the process, Gunner, who is at the center of most of the heroics, gets caught by the German soldiers. And as fate would have it, Ingrid and Ole fail to get through the bridge. Later, Ingrid witnesses a helpless Gunner in captivity when the German soldiers escort her.


What does Ingrid do?

Even in a dire situation like this, Ingrid doesn’t lose her calm and continues to do every single possible thing that can help her family. Thanks to her translating skill, she manages to befriend the German consulate. Her loyalty still lies with the British, though, as she continues to give information about the Germans and their activities to the two British officials who are still hiding in the mountains. She tries to persuade the German consulate to move some things in the hierarchy to help Gunner if it is at all possible.

Narvik (2022): Ending Explained

What happens to Gunner?

Because of the director’s decision not to combine the two different story arcs in a shifting narrative structure, we only get to know about Gunner after we are done with Ingrid’s arc (more on that later).

After being caught for playing a major part in the bridge explosion, Gunner and some other Norwegian soldiers are taken captive. Subsequently, the Germans torture them in a barbaric fashion. However, they keep surviving in the freezing cold. Things change when the French and Polish soldiers attack the Germans and come to their aid. The Norwegians join hands with the French and Polish army men. Together, they take control of the mountain and eventually upthrow the Germans from Narvik, essentially handing Adolf Hitler his first real defeat.

Why does Ingrid betray the British?

Based on Ingrid’s brilliant work as a mole, the British officials managed to get hold of the German strategies, leading to the British attacking the Germans. But the innocent civilians of Narvik are caught in the crossfire, and Ingrid’s house gets bombed during one of the British attacks. While her father-in-law doesn’t survive the bombing of the house, little Ole gets heavily injured. Ole gets basic treatment from German doctors. But when his condition gets critical, the German doctor gets busy in aid of the injured German soldiers, who are obviously the priority.

To increase her importance and thus save her only son’s life, Ingrid gives the two British officials to the Germans. . She doesn’t give up her friend Bjorg who eventually figures out what Ingrid has done. Ole’s life gets saved, but the Narvik people start to see Ingrid as someone who has betrayed the country since Norway’s neutral stance has changed to supporting the British, now their allies.

Was her decision right?

After getting back to Narvik as victorious, Gunner soon discovers what Ingrid has done. He gets furious after knowing she betrayed the country. Ingrid argues that it was to save their son’s life, who got injured because of the British bombing in the first place. The ensuing conversation turns into a heated argument.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Now, whether or not Ingrid’s decision was right depends on your perspective. If you believe that country comes before anything, then what she did is obviously treason and morally wrong. But if you consider a mother going all out to save her child, her action makes sense even though it is morally wrong. The country versus family argument does not really have a viable solution here. But Ingrid made her own choice, whether or not you liked it.

What happens in the end?

Hitler’s first defeat doesn’t last long since the Germans soon start bombing Narvik to take back control. In the context of the film, Ingrid has a part to play in that.

We see Ingrid boarding a boat with Ole, leaving war-torn Narvik. Her stand on putting family before the war is firm and strong. But just before the scene goes black, we see Gunner appearing and holding her hand. This only implies that despite being a soldier, Gunner, in the end, chose to be with his family. That does seem like the right choice, in all fairness.

Also, Read: Viking Wolf (2022): Ending, Explained – What is the significance of Liv placing the silver bullet on the bed stool?

     Narvik (2022) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Where to watch Narvik

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