After finishing every film in the Harry Potter series, I felt a need to see what kind of acting skills Rupert Grint had grown into as an adult outside of the Hogwarts Universe. So a film like Into the White sounded like a great choice to start.
Into the White is misleading on the basis of its poster because that suggests that there will be more aviation and battles than there actually are in the film. Into the White is a significantly more character-driven story which focuses on the soldiers as they live out a period of time in a cabin with enemies. Also, Rupert Grint is given some of the least lines in the film despite being promoted as one of the key actors in the film and having his face stand out on the poster. With a film like Into the White, your expectations cannot come from what the poster suggests.
And the story doesn't attempt to break new ground. It is an exploration of the relationship between enemies in WWII stuck in a difficult situation who have to work together to survive, and that is interesting but it doesn't take the context of the story on board as much as it realistically should considering the violent nature of WWII. And the material gets rather repetitive over the course of its 100 minute running time which is already slow paced, so the experience can be a little too dull for some viewers. Although I wasn't bothered by the pace, I found that the story did tend to go in circles and didn't really go too far beyond its limits all that often.
But even still, Into the White was an entertaining film.
For one thing, Into the White is flawlessly convincing. Due to the fact that it is shot on location, it maintains the perfect scenery for its story and always feels realistic. It captures an atmospheric look at its characters boxed in one little cabin as the cold starts to freeze them and captures a lot of the appealing elements of its scenery. That combined with the costumes and the props all combine into making Into the White the convincing film that it is. And everything is captured with very gentle and nice cinematography as well as timely editing.
Secondly, the film feels very honest. It takes an honest look at all its characters without defining them on the basis of which side they fight for. By that I mean that it doesn't label the German soldiers enemies and the British soldiers heroes. I mean, if viewers saw Into the White without any prior knowledge about the context of World War II then they would have no way of labelling anybody the good guys or the bad guys. So Into the White succeeds at looking at its characters as people instead of simply as soldiers which is what a lot of war films fail to do.
But the most important part of Into the White is the characters. As the film focuses on its five soldiers who are all isolated in the same cabin due to crashing during WWII, the importance of the story rests on who they are and precisely how they interact with each other. Although the screenplay occasionally has repetitive bumps, as a whole it is interesting and has enough strong dialogue to support its 100 minute running time and the slow pace of the film. It keeps things consistently interesting and dramatic on its small scale to the end, so for such a small scale project I would say that Petter Naess gives a fine effort as the writer and director of Into the White, and he manages to bring out a lot of talent in the cast.
Lachlan Nieboer portrays Captain Charles P. Davenport, the British soldier who takes a stand against the Germans' attempt to establish strength over him in the cabin in Into the White. He stands tall with his heroism and sharp line delivery which has him saying his lines swiftly but without a feeling as if her ever having to remember them. The words exit his mouth so naturally that it all feels real, and it enhances the convincing qualities of Into the White.
The German counterpart to this character is played by Florian Lukas who shares an intense chemistry with Lachlan Nieboer due to the fact that both characters represent the same values and have similar personas yet stand on opposing sides of the war is interesting. Florian Lukas similarly creates a certain sense of strength by standing up in the face of an adversary and delivering his lines with an equal strength. These two actors dominate the screen for most of the first part of the film and it gives it a good start which just improves as it progresses.
The first time that audiences get to see Rupert Grint talk for an extended period of time in Into the White is the moment that he instantly separates himself from his iconic role of Ron Weasley. I closed my eyes for a moment during his brief monologue and tried to imagine that this was Ron Weasley, but due to his excellent voice articulation of a Liverpool accent, I simply could not. I saw Rupert Grint for his strong mature talent that he had developed over many years of acting in Into the White, the film serves as a front for his talents which easily separate him from the character Ron Weasley. Rupert Grint is a great cast member in Into the White who delivers his lines with a mature and adult passion for acting which ensures that the material is dealt the best possible acting skills he can present.
David Kross' performance is a strong one as well. The actor who made a name for himself for his performance in the morally awful film The Reader manages to give a more impressive performance in a significantly more mature and adult role in Into the White. Projecting the fearful inner turmoil that comes with being a soldier forced to face the harsh reality of being paired with his enemies, instead of staring blankly like he did in The Reader, David Kross manages to put some life in the stare in his eyes which projects the true fear from within him, as does his rough edged line delivery. David Kross gives a performance superior to his one in The Reader which gives me a new respect for him as an actor.
Stig Henrik Hoff also makes a strong supporting effort.
So while Into the Blue is slow, somewhat repetitive and doesn't have the action or aviation that its poster suggests, it is still a thoroughly entertaining character study of soldiers in a complex situation which is acted well and scripted very finely.