THE 12TH MAN (2017) aka Den 12. mann is a Norwegian historical drama film. Netflix, 2 hr 15 min. Cert 15 U.K. English subtitles.
Thomas Gullestad as Jan Baalsrud
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Kurt Stage
Marie Blokhus as Gudrun Grønvoll
Mads Sjøgård Pettersen as Marius Grønvoll
Vegar Hoel as Sigurd Eskeland
Håkon T. Nielsen as Erik Reichelt
Eirik Risholm Velle as Per Blindheim
Daniel Frikstad as Gabriel Salvesen
Eric Dirnes as Bjørn Norman Bolstad
Alexander Zwart as Sjur Ludvigsen Trovåg
Director: Harald Zwart
Cinematographer: Geir Hartly Andreassen
Writer: Petter Skavlan (as Alex Boe)
Visual Effects: Lars Erik Hansen, Morten Jacobsen, Alexander Kadim and Arne Kaupang
Sound Design: Christian Schaanning
Make-up: Dimitra Drakopoulou and Asta Hafthorsdottir
The 12th Man is based on historical events adapted from the book Jan Baalsrud and Those Who Saved Him (2001), written by Tore Haug and Astrid Karlsen Scott.
“After a failed anti-Nazi sabotage mission leaves his 11 comrades dead, Norwegian resistance fighter, Jan Baalsrud, finds himself fleeing from the Gestapo through the snowbound reaches of Scandinavia.”
Astonishing! Unbelievable! As it states at the very start of this film, the most unbelievable events are the ones which really happened. As the “hero” himself said, everyone who helped him is heroic. This is a story of immense courage and bravery, resistance, patriotism, hardship and endurance. It is also a story of extremes of violence, cruelty and inhumanity. Not only being pursued by the Nazis (headed by an obsessed countryman-turned-traitor, Kurt Stage) but also the horrendous weather conditions.
The acting in this movie is incredible, especially from the lead, Thomas Gullestad. Certainly not for the faint of heart (there was at least one scene where I had to close my eyes) but an inspirational story which is fully deserving of wider attention.
The cinematography in The 12th Man is truly exceptional. Aerial shots, close-ups, tracking shots… everything is so well thought out and visually arresting. The directorial choices are clever and really enhance the whole story and atmosphere, including the sense of jeopardy, excitement and the extreme cold!
The demands made upon the make-up department are considerable. There are various types of physical damage caused by both injury and the extremes of cold that are just brilliantly recreated in this film.
The sound design is exceptional. If you get a chance to listen to this with a sound bar or surround sound then do so, it is amazing!
The 12th Man won Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Design at the Amanda Awards 2018. At the Trondheim International Film Festival 2018 it also won Best Sound Design.
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