There’s nothing us Europeans seem to like more than a jolly good war story starring a handsome, intelligent and brave nationalist hero. Indeed, if you did the maths and counted everyone who claimed to have been a partisan or resistance fighter, it’s surprising that the Nazis weren’t simply crushed by the sheer weight of numbers. Having said that, it’s easy to view these things in hindsight, in the full knowledge that we’re never going to be put in a position where we have to choose between collaboration or death. As Into the Darkness demonstrates, it’s a complicated.
Karl Skov (Jesper Christensen) is just about to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his company, when the Nazis arrive on Danish soil. The rich industrialist lives a privileged life in a large house with his wife and five children. At first, they want nothing to do with the Germans. However, As Hitler’s seemingly endless march to victory continues and the occupiers make themselves at home, they’re all forced to choose a side.
The strength and weakness of Into the Darkness comes from a willingness to let events slowly unfold. There’s a lot of detail here and at times it’s hard to keep up. However, this attention to detail creates a complex web of the intriguing inter-relationships. Each member of the family is presented with a choice and their decisions speak volumes about their characters. Whilst this approach may not be to everyone’s tastes, Anders Refn’s film certainly stirs a much broader debate around that period of history. When Into the Darkness ends, it just does. Which feels incongruous to the rest of the experience.
Into the Darkness will be released on digital platforms in the UK and Ireland on 5 March.