Winter In Wartime Review

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In a a German-occupied Dutch village during the the Second World War, young Michiel finds an RAF pilot and endeavours to keep him safe.


Based on a popular Dutch teen novel, Martin Koolhoven’s World War II-set drama buttresses soapy melodrama against arthouse sensibilities with enjoyable, if mixed, results. Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier), a Dutch teenager in a German-occupied village, finds shot-down RAF pilot Jack (a pre-Twilight Jamie Campbell Bower) and struggles to keep him alive. Around this, there are snapshots of family life under Nazi rule, with Michiel’s father (Raymond Thiry) the town mayor, his uncle (Yorick van Wageningen) a member of the Dutch resistance and his sister (Melody Klaver) falling for Jack.

Koolhoven is mostly good with actors, the period is strongly evoked and there are strong moments, but the bursts of action lack imagination, the tone is too broad (Pino Donaggio’s score lays it on thick) and the film says little new about Europe’s darkest days.

Nothing new here but there are some strong performances and authentic period detail.