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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Into the White (Blu-ray)
Into the White (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // June 25, 2013 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted July 21, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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Into the White Blu-ray Review


Click on an image to view the Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution

Into the White is a period-piece that takes place during World War II and it stars a cast of young actors Florian Lukas, David Kross, Lachlan Niedber, Stig Henrik Hoff, and Rupert Grint, who I imagine many audience members will be familiar with already because of Harry Potter. During April, 1940, the war is going on. But what difficulties do these characters face? And what will bring them together or tear them apart? Director Petter Baess lets the story unfold at its slower pace with this slow-burn dramatic effort.

The entirety of the film revolves around a somewhat simplistic plot element, which is based on actual historical events, but doesn't engage much beyond the central concept of the film: which portrays the difficulties faced by German and British crew members who become stranded and endangered when their planes crash and they are left in the middle of a snowy mountain region where food is scarce and they lose contact with the rest of the world. As the film unfolds, these characters begin to struggle together to survive the harsh environmental conditions and they are faced with confronting each other's different ideas of what is right as enemies of war brought to common ground.

The film is slow paced and for some audience members this is an obvious detriment. If you don't enjoy slow burn movies... you won't want to watch this one. The film runs over 100 minutes but almost nothing happens during the entire course of the film. Basically, you'll see long, slow pan shots of snow and the people surrounded by it for a huge portion of the film. The characters all end up staying in a cabin for most of the film's run-time though, and with that element, it feels more like a play than it feels like an entirely cinematic outing. Unlike another much-treasured film that feels at times like a play (the debut effort of Quentin Tarantino known as Reservoir Dogs) , this effort doesn't seem to grasp that to make things interesting for almost two hours actual events still need to occur within the limited production-frame, and that interesting or complex conversations can add layers of depth, character development, and worth to a film produced in this sort of pedigree.

Unfortunately, the screenplay (written by Ole Meldgaard, Dave Mango, and Petter Naessm) is essentially too little in the way of being a full-blown character-study to take things to a more layered level of intrigue for audiences. The dialogue is simplistic and a great portion of this movie actually spends more time with the director's gaze of finding good 'shots' or 'angles' instead of spending time on having good lines of dialogue for the actors to deliver and it's detrimental to the quality of the film.

The performances are generally good but the actors aren't given enough to work with. This is especially the case for Harry Potter's Ruper Grint, who seems to have not been given all that much to do with this effort, and who isn't even really utilized efficiently much at all until the film's already almost half over. At which point, his natural charismatic nature does more for creating a better vibe around the film than the script does.

The movie does have its moments though, so it seems reasonable to mention that it does have reasonable scenes where the story progresses and the characters are explored. They just seem relatively minimal at best. Some of these characters, being involved with Germany in WWII believe in Hitler and Nazism, but others seem more like they are just there -- and this causes conflict between the Germans and the British survivors, especially as the British war pilots definitely do not want to be around Nazi's at all, but must do what they can to survive the environmental landscape.

The final moments of the film bear some significance. We learn that the names in the film became changed by request, and some details about what happened to these people. And it suggests that some of them -- Nazi and British -- eventually become friends after the war is ended, and that they have moved on from the harshness of their crash-landed survival and a terrible war.

Into the White is an interesting story, but it's difficult to view a feature-length effort, and most viewers should find the entire concept a bit difficult to get behind. But it's all based on a true story, and for what it's worth, it can sometimes be an interesting one. Just don't go in to this  expecting perfection. It's also not quite the vehicle for Rupert Grint that I was hoping for. Something tells me he thought the idea of a WWII drama sounded like a brilliant career opportunity on paper but the end result is a somewhat-average and disappointing effort.

The Blu-ray:


Video:

Into the White has arrived on Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition transfer which retains the downcast and solemn look of the icy cinematography. The digital photography looks almost flawless from a technical standpoint, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for PQ elements that would have been preferable. Colors are intentionally drained somewhat and the darkened cinematography design makes the film look less impressive than it would have otherwise.

The film is presented in the proper theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

Audio:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is a decent lossless audio mix that has some good moments of fidelity. The scenes outdoors in the snow and windy environment are well-defined socially and the occasional score helped to make the atmosphere more enveloping. Dialogue is the main element that seems focused upon with the audio track, and the lossless audio allows it to sound crisp and clean from beginning to end.


Additional Screenshots:

Click on an image to view the Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution






Extras:

The only extras are a brief AXS TV: A Look at Into the White promotional piece, in which a few brief clips of the film are shown in a trailer-style fashion with some commentary by a film critic who adored the movie, and the original theatrical trailer. Essentially... you get two trailers for the film and that's it.


Click on the image to view the Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution

Final Thoughts:

Into the White is a slow-build film that is about surviving during harsh circumstances, even with your enemy right next to you. It's also about overcoming the differences of characters involved in war, but at that it's not as successful in the long run. This isn't the most complex of WWII movies and the characters could have been better developed. But it is based on a true story, which should interest some audience members, and Rupert Grin (of Harry Potter) gives a reasonably good performance with what little material he was given to work with.  

The technically impressive Blu-ray disc will be notable for fans of the film, but the bonus materials were virtually nonexistent. Consider this film and release a light rental at best.  

Rent It.

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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