Netflix’s ‘Narvik’ Highlights the Dangers of Neutrality in War

*This article contains spoilers for the film “Narvik.”

Are you looking for a movie set during World War II that reflects ongoing global issues? Then add the thrilling and dramatic film “Narvik” to your collection.

Set in Narvik, Norway during World War II, the film is based on the battle for iron ore between Great Britain and Germany. This iron ore is essential for making German weaponry. To defeat the Germans, the British military focused on stopping the transportation of this ore to the Germans. 

This story zooms in on the perspectives of Ingrid Tofte (Kristine Hartgen), her husband, Gunnar (Carl Martin Eggesbø), and her son, Ole (Christoph Gelfert Mathiesen). Ingrid works at a local hotel and often assists visitors as a translator. Her husband is a Corporal Norwegian soldier. Netflix displays both views towards the war from civilian and military standpoints. Both Ingrid and Gunnar take action to better themselves and their country. 

Courtesy of Netflix.

Generally one will declare neutrality in hopes that the peace within them or their country will remain despite outlying chaos. Yet, this effort sometimes has the opposite effect, drawing the madness inside. This specifically references the civilian perspective of Ingrid who remains in town for the survival of her and her family.

Due to her employment, Ingrid is placed in tense situations between the British and the Germans. When the Germans take over her hotel, the British are forced to flee. Ingrid tries to remain neutral by not only providing hospitality and interpreting for the Germans but hiding the fleeing British in a remote hunting cabin. With her help, both sides believe she is pleading her allegiance with them. This becomes more demanding and dangerous as the British request she steals Germany’s military strategy plans while the punishment for helping the British increases with time. Ingrid must turn towards survival mode for her decision-making to help her and her family survive these difficult times.  

Caught between the two powers, Ingrid’s father-in-law, Aslak Tofte (Stig Henrik Hoff), Ole, and herself are forced to hide in bomb shelters. Unfortunately, not all attacks can be prepared for, putting civilians at risk. Eventually, there is an attack on Ingrid’s home while her son and father-in-law are there. She gets there in time to rescue her son but he is not without wounds. The only way for him to survive is with the help of the Germans.

After days of seeing her son suffer, Ingrid decides to turn in the British men. She needs German resources for her son to live. But this decision not only sacrifices the British men but her reputation among her fellow citizens. Norway soon takes the side of the Allied Powers in response to the violation of Norway’s neutrality. The Norwegian soldiers, including Corporal Gunnar, begin to fight against the Germans. When the news of Ingrid helping the Germans for the sake of their son reaches her husband, it sabotages their relationship. In the end, it feels as if the world is against Ingrid and her son.

Courtesy of Netflix.

This brings into question the reality of neutrality. 

Both sides, the Germans and the British violate the neutrality of Norway. They are bombed by the British and overrun by the Germans. Therefore, the land and its people become the crossfire of a much bigger war. 

Looking at the bigger picture, was it worth declaring neutrality on Norway’s end or did it only add to the turmoil and commotion within the town of Narvik? The damage to Narvik was both physical and emotional for its people. Did neutrality backfire? Was Norway’s best option to aid both sides equally? Does neutrality exist?

Keep these questions, and the theme of neutrality, in mind while watching this fantastic film. Take in all perspectives on what neutrality can lead to. Dig deeper into the film and find ways to apply it to today’s world!

“Narvik” is available to stream on Netflix.

By Charley Lustig

Leave a Reply