This Dutch WWII drama is visually stark and tense. It's also somewhat unbelievable and inconsistent. The facts here may be loosely based on a true story, but it feels like the truth morphed over time in the minds of the people involved.
The young teenager Lakemeier is the son of Thiry, the kowtowing mayor of a small Dutch town overrun by Nazis. The clumsy kid is nonplussed by his father's sly, deferential treatment of the SS troops in order to keep the starving berg peaceful. Lakemeier is both protected by his father's position and aided by his own sneakiness;
he and his pals steal Nazi artifacts. So, when given a task behind enemy lines, the boy jumps at the chance. While completing his covert operation, Lakemeier fi nds an injured British soldier (Campbell Bower) and sets to protect him.
Can you already sense there is a lot going on in the film? Yet most of this tale feels like a mash-up of other, much better WWII coming-of-age films. Noble Lakemeier is good, but he cannot hold together a story where the dad is both wimpy and sneaky, and the Nazis vacillate between vicious and kind. Soon, the sullen sister is asked for help, the Nazis start torturing poor old dad, and then it all devolves into a ridiculous chase sequence. By that point, Winter in Wartime has lost us all in the woods around that little Dutch village.