Freddie Deighton looks at new Second World War drama depicting the Nazi German occupation of Norway
Betrayed is a Norwegian film that depicts the Nazi German occupation of Norway through the eyes of the Braude family. A family of Jews living in Oslo after fleeing from Lithuania. As one of the sons of the Braude family, Charles, marries his young girlfriend, Ragnhild, the Norwegian authorities tighten their grip on the Jewish populace and begin to step ever closer to the final solution.
The title, Betrayed, sadly does not really do the story of this film much justice. It’s a rather generic title for a rather unique film. In fact, if you type “Betrayed” into IMDb or Letterboxd, you’re swarmed with hundreds of films all with the same or a very similar name. The original Norwegian title for the film roughly translates to The Greatest Crime, which is a lot more befitting of the subject matter. You can tell that the writers behind this film certainly believed that title as the shame of what occurs in this film is truly felt throughout.
As suggested above, this film covers a part of the Second World War’s history that is very rarely spoken about. The occupation of Norway has been a topic of very few films and not many documentaries. Betrayed indeed tells a very unique story for a film about the Holocaust. The film shows the audience a Norway where Jewish men are torn from their families and sent to an internment camp. Here they’re beaten and bullied while being forced to build their own barracks. This is all while their wives and daughters are at home in Oslo having their valuable possessions stripped from them. What’s shocking though is that the camp and the property seizures aren’t being run by brutal Nazi stormtroopers. They’re run by Norwegian police officers and soldiers.
Betrayed is quite a powerful film in so much as that it shows that the Holocaust wasn’t just perpetrated by the Nazis, but by hundreds of willing collaborators and citizens. Though this film doesn’t quite reach the horrific sights of Schindler’s List or Son Of Saul, it does show a dark side of humanity nonetheless.
As a film, Betrayed is well put together. It’s nicely directed and the lighting is pretty good. A lot of the time it does look a little bland but the story keeps you going enough to distract you from that. The soundtrack is very subtle. There isn’t really much use of a score throughout but there are little stints of sad violins that are used to good effect.
The acting is probably the best part of Betrayed. Jakob Oftebro, who plays Charles Braude, has really good chemistry with Michalis Koutsogiannakis and Kristine Thorp who play Charles’ father and wife respectively. These relationships are certainly the heart of the film and the most emotional moments come from these three interacting. A highlight is the scene where Charles proposes to Ragnhild in his father’s butchery.
Betrayed does a great job at shining a light on Norway’s relatively unknown dark past. Hopefully it will inspire more harrowing war tales from Norway’s Scandinavian neighbours.
Signature Entertainment presents Betrayed on Digital Platforms & DVD 10th May