"They stole his country. Now he wants it back." The tagline for this thoroughly enjoyable and highly educational war drama may drip testosterone but with good reason: it's a tale of extreme courage that most people outside Norway will never have heard.
The real Max Manus was a young man in Norway who, during the German invasion and despite being wanted by the Gestapo, helped form the Norwegian resistance and commited several daring acts of sabotage throught the Second World War. Here, in Roenning's and Sandberg's exciting film, Manus (Hennie) comes across as a mix of gung ho action hero which, judging by some of his activities, is pretty much what he was.
After initial mistakes and reckless acts, the Nazis catch Max so he escapes in the only way possible: a jump from a second floor window. Then, despite the presence of armed guards outside his hospital room, he escapes again, this time rather more successfully, fleeing to England for sabotage training before parachuting back in to rejoin the resistance. It's Boys Own stuff, to be sure, but all true and the film is a satisfying mix of male cameraderie, history and gritty action. It's also an interesting companion piece to this year's Flame and Citron, and a worthwhile reminder that it wasn't only the UK and America to stand up and fight.