(director: Oskar Thor Axelsson; screenwriters: book by Arnaldur Indrioason, Marteinn Thorisson; cinematographer: Árni Filippusson; editors: Cunnar B. Guobjorrnsson, Kristjan Loomfjoro; music: Frank Hall; cast: Atli Óskar Fjalarsson (Elias), Wotan Wilke Möhring (Simon), Adesuwa Oni (Julie), Vivian Ólafsdóttir (Kristin), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Einor Ragnarsson), Iain Glen (William Carr), Jack Fox (Prof. Steve Rush), Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson (Johannes), Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir (Rosa), Annette Badland (Sarah Steinkamp); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Tinna Proppe, Hilmar Sigurosson, Anita Elsani, Dirk Schweitzer; Magnolia Release; 2023-Iceland-in Icelandic, with English subtitles)
“Frigid B-film that has the visuals right but not the story.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Icelandic director Oskar Thor Axelsson (“I Remember You”/”Black’s Game”) and screenwriter Marteinn Thorisson adapt the bestseller by B-film, alt-history thriller,Arnaldur Indriðason to the screen into this frigid B-film that has the visuals right but not the story.
It’s a Nordic low-budget B-film, alt-history thriller, shot in both Iceland and Germany, and the dialogue is equally split between Icelandic and English. Unfortunately the action scenes are not good, the characters are stereotypes, not much makes sense and the lackluster movie goes on for too long.
A prologue is set in April 1945, in Iceland, during a blizzard, and shows a goat farmer witnessing a plane crash.
It then brings us back to the present. The shadowy CIA director William Carr (Iain Glen) is playing with his grandchildren in Washington, D.C., which hides his sinister nature and ambition to cover up at any cost a covert operation he’s running.
In present-day Iceland, Elias (Atli Óskar Fjalarsson) and his two friends are racing in a remote area on their snowmobiles when they uncover at the Vatnajökull glacier a wrecked Nazi plane from WW2 that has a swastika on its tail fin. Elias uses his smart phone to send back footage of the plane to his successful lawyer sister Kristin (Vivian Ólafsdóttir), living in Reykjavikof, and also photos of the inside where there’s the frozen corpse of a pilot whose uniform has an American flag.
At the crash site we see two CIA assassins – Simon (Wotan Wilke Möhring) and Julie (Adesuwa Oni) – posing as scientists. When they come upon the wreck, Julie kills Elias’s friends. But Elias escapes and goes into hiding.
When a CIA assassin shows up at Kristin’s place, she flees and gets help from her ex, her former history professor Steve Rush (Jack Fox), an Englishman, who is now her boss. They search for her missing brother and get help from a local farmer (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) at the crash site.
Doing some research on their phone, the couple realize that the found World War II plane is one that the U.S. government wants to study. Kristin and Steve must now try to elude the CIA assassins sent by Carr, who have framed her as the murderer of her brother’s friends.
We’re left dealing with some kind of conspiracy theory plot that’s as cold as the location shots.
In Operation Napoleon the MacGuffin used as a plot device drives the story until it runs out of gas.
REVIEWED ON 9/29/2023 GRADE: C+