The King's Choice (Kongens nei)

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A detailed, compelling timeline of Operation Weserübung — the German takeover of Denmark and Norway in 1940 — largely seen from the perspective of Norway’s King Haakon VII. (It’s less a war movie than a story about politicians in wartime, and the few battle scenes are made all the more gripping by their rarity — civilization undone by its opposite.) Haakon, though elected by the people, was a ceremonial figure — except not so much to Der Führer, who wanted his approval for the new man in charge. (Not many people see their name turned into a word; go ahead and look up “quisling” sometime.) Director Erik Poppe’s handling of complicated material — diplomacy amid invasion, familial struggles amid national strife, political machinery clanking along amid explosions — is clear and sure. It’s only when the script gets ambitious and attempts to valorize/humanize one of the Enemy that it stumbles, badly, muffling the impact of the titular decision. In Norwegian and German with English subtitles. (2016) — Matthew Lickona

Rated NR | 2 hours, 13 minutes
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