INTO THE WHITE, also known as CROSS OF HONOR, is based on fact and in adapting the facts to the screen director Petter Næss along with co-writers Ole Meldgaard and Dave Mango have turned out a film that could easily have been a stage play, restricted for the most part as it is to the confines on one cabin. But then the vast beauty of the Norwegian landscape would have been sacrificed and it is that use of the bleak snow clad solitude that underlines the effects of isolation on the human response and survival under austere conditions.
On April 27, 1940, while the Germans and the British were struggling to gain control of Norway's vast natural resource to aid their war efforts two enemy fighter planes were shot down over the tundra of Norway. We meet the German soldiers first - Lieutenant Horst Schopis (Florian Lukas), Feldwebel Wolfgang Strunk (Stig Henrik Hoff) and the wounded Unteroffizier Josef Schwartz (David Kross) as they struggle for survival, sleeping in snow caves and finally fining a deserted one room cabin where they settle in without much food and little comforts. Next we meet the British crew of the plane that crashed in the conflict with the Germans - Captain Charles P. Davenport (Lachlan Nieboer) and Gunner Robert Smith (Rupert Grint). The Brits find the German held cabin and join the Germans in a hostile relationship: there is a constant struggle of who is in charge, the Geneva convention rules of prisoners of war etc. But gradually the friction diminishes as the five men cope with finding food, warmth, and the care of Josef's arm, which has turned gangrenous. The facades of their military personalities fade into the unique personal needs of each and the result is an improbable friendship laced with angst, philosophy, humor, and mutual caring: in the end we are all equals and `enemies' morph into caring friends.
As the credits role at film's end we are informed of the fates of each of the five men. The story is solid, touching, humorous at times, and carries a strong message about what war does to men's minds and It is only when isolated from the `badges of countries' that these unlikely men becomes bonded. A very strong film. Grady Harp, April 13