The 12th Man: Netflix ~ Non-Spoiler Review

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Image shows montage of scenes from The 12th Man. Poster for the movie is centre.

🇳🇴 THE 12TH MAN 🇳🇴

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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