Tor Lindblom makes a fortune supplying the Nazis with everything from liquor and cigarettes to cement and steel. He also owns the Club Havana, a nightclub in Oslo frequented by the industrial elite of occupied Norway, Officers of the Wehrmacht and opportunistic hustlers of both sexes. Tor is in love with the singer in the nightclub, Eva, a British double agent who works part-time for the Gestapo. When Dr. Walter from the Reich General Auditor's Office arrives in town to check the books, events for Tor Lindblom and his business partner, SS Major Krüger, take a sudden turn for the worse.
Betrayal (aka Svik) is a low-key thriller set in Occupied Norway during the WW2. Whilst it is a smaller film than
, it is another fascinating chapter of the war most of us would be unfamiliar with. Lene Nystrom (more on her in a moment) plays Eva, a double agent who takes on Tor and Major Kruger as her lovers to get close to them and obtain vital information for the Resistance. A dangerous profession at the best of times, but her actual boyfriend, Svein, happens to be Tor’s brother. It had been believed that Svein had been shot down over the English Channel, but when news reaches Eva that he is alive and on his way to Norway, it makes her take a hard look at what she is having to do for the greater good. Luckily Svien is more pragmatic, reflecting that everyone must do what they can.
It is hard to believe that the actress playing Eva, Lene Nystrøm, used to be the vocalist for Aqua, who gave the world “Barbie Girl”! Her performance here is exemplarary, especially her song and dance performances onstage at Club Havana. Horror fans will be glad to see the name of Ingrid Bolsø Berdal – she played Jannicke in the Fritt Vilt (Cold Prey) films. Here she is a fellow double agent working with the Resistance.
Other than Eva, the main focus of the film is Major Kruger, rather than Tor. Kruger is a monster who feasts on the opportunism presented to him in his role as industrial liaison. He abuses his status by extorting money from a cabal of industrialists to whom he has awarded lucrative contracts. He provides slave labour from the concentration camps. And he has been fiddling the accounts, which brings the unwanted attention of the General Auditor’s office.
The arrival of Dr Walter proves to be something of a catalyst – for Kruger, the Resistance as well as the industrialists who are fed up with Kruger’s insatiable greed. Dr Walter has a keen investigative mind, and needs to be dealt with.
Whilst the first half of the film is filled with intrigue and espionage, the second brings some action, as Eva finds herself having to flee for the border, carrying secret documents for British Intelligence, pursued by Kruger and Tor, who are in turn tailed by the industrialists and other SS agents suspicious of Kruger’s activities. It proves to be an exciting chase building to a tense stand-off.
The film is unfortunately book-ended by scenes set in the present day, as an elderly Eva recalls the tale to her grown-up grand-daughter. I have issues about these scenes. Firstly, there is apparently no motive for Eva to suddenly decide to tell the story, she just dredges it all up on a whim. Secondly, knowing that Eva survives the events of the film takes some of the tension out of the climactic scenes.
Other than the wraparound scenes,
is a well-made, taut, exciting thriller, fixing on yet another secret aspect of World War 2, and making a genuine star of actress Lene Nystrøm.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
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