Director: Dennis Bots
Country: the Netherlands
Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
The story takes place in the Dutch countryside during World War II. Two boys’ friendship is tested when a new girl is enrolled in their school. Eventually, the girl becomes closer to one of the boys than the other, and this, along with some family secrets on all sides tests the boys’ friendship.
Maas Bronkhuyzen plays Tuur, a daydreamer and class clown and Joes Brauers plays Lambert, a boy with a club foot and low self-esteem. Both actors are very good and believable as their characters. Wartime can be a time of stress and these boys’ friendship face many barriers: loyalty to friends and family being the main one. The other actors were good in portraying the mentality of those who fought in the Resistance and those who were collaborators.
The scenery was nice and Dennis Bots, the director, did a very good job of setting an interesting look to the film. I say “interesting” because most war films tend to use music as a mood setter and give a feeling of suspense. Although there is a fairly good amount of action in the film, there is not a lot of suspense. I think the director was going for a more pastoral setting while tampering down the violence of war. There are a couple references to the concentration camps, but most of the characters are under the impression that they are harmless labor camps. Most Europeans knew almost nothing about what went on in these camps until after the war. The children may have their own secrets, but the real secret of the war were the camps.
I give this 4 stars out of 5 because, although the acting was good and the story was interesting, the mood of the film was a bit slow-paced. The kids did go through some life-or-death adventures but the pacing did nothing for me. It may appeal to some people and I am not saying that no one should bother watching it, but I will not add it to my collection.