Let me be very fair here, this is not the best movie in my opinion. But, this movie is fun, it has purpose and is very enjoyable to watch.
By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse.
One of the worst ways to make a cult movie is to set out to make a cult movie.
Coming from not only a nation (Norway) which has a lot of heroes connected to the second world war, but also a world re-known town from where some world famous saboteurs came from (Rjukan)h, it's interesting to see a movie from the Swedish side.They were equally young to the Swedes here, those local schoolboys and students which later one became famous as saboteurs. You saw some of them in the films Max Manus and The Heavy Water Sabotage. I personally got to know a couple of them, amongst them Gunnar "Kjakan" Sønstsbø, which was Norways most decorated war heroes, and a main person in the spiderweb of sabotage actions which made the war difficult for the occupiers during the war. And my father very secretly brought food up to saboteurs hiding in the mountains, waiting for the right time to hit. This was so secret that I didn't get to know this until many years after his death, by strangers which knew my dad.Sweden has been a peaceful nation, and their neutrality during the WW2 is well known, but we've heard very little on their war history. This film tells a bit about the nervousness the Swedes felt even though they chose not to take sides during the war. Norway wasn't at all ready to fight against the German war machine, nor where the Danes or most other nation attacked and occupied during the war. Still there sprung heroes out of the war. They started off as young and stupid, but still with some courage and luck, which in some years made them both experienced and later on heroes.This movie shows how naive the Swedes where, when they went from peaceful Sweden into wartime Norway on silly missions. They weren't at all prepared for what they met. Many Nowegian soldiers died the same way, without becoming either known or heroes. This film could as much as being about Swedes have been about Nowegians, or Finns. We get to see the experienced Finn in action here. He had learned how fights were won during the Finnish winter war. Therefore he was better able to deal with the horrors of war.Though this film had some troubles establishing our sympathy for the characters in the first hour, it manages to do so in the last hour, when the severeness has caught both them and us as viewers.This war film is more about the traumas of war than about the war. I found the film fascinating for more tan one reason. I also found he film honest and no extra hero bullshit, just plain true and raw realism. That there's a drama at the end I found refreshing. It was actions like that which made the war hell for Germans in Norway. Impossible to know where and when they would occur, but many felt obliged to do what they could to make it difficult for the occupiers.A review here thought the Germans where cliché fully horrible here, but torture and nastiness was no stranger to the occupiers. This was how they got to know about hideouts and saboteurs. This was a very real war.A good movie, which could have had a better start than it did.
You can tell that Sweden has not been at war for 200+ years. All the Swedish soldiers are wimps that have to show how scared they are at all times. It gets rather tedious. The only real hero is a Finnish origin soldier that had killed 100+ Russians. He is the only old-fashioned hero. All the Germans seem to be sadists. Another cliché. In contrast, we have the Swedish soldiers discussing about Hitler's plan for the Jews. Come on; some countryside 18 year olds in 1942 talking about the Jews? Not realistic. That so much playing to a modern audience as opposed to remaining somewhat authentic. The film also plays to a modern audience by having a soldier pet his pregnant girlfriend's tummy. Sweden is a small country so it is important to get the female audience as well.I would not recommend this film. Instead watch the Danish Flame And Citron or the Norwegian Max Manus. These countries where attacked during WW2 and their soldiers show a much more aggressive demeanor. Their heroes are allowed to be good. They have meaningful tasks to accomplish. These two films has a strong narrative that pushes the films forward. The Swedish film pretty much lacks a narrative, except a big rather meaningless shoot-out in the end of the film (another conventional trick). I get the feeling that the director wants to show the horrors of war. The Swedes had a chance to make a traditional action movie, but blew it totally.
If you're anticipating an all-out heroic war movie with lots of gunfire, Gränsen will let you down. This movie is in no way intended to be just that. Instead it focuses a lot more on the war-mentality and the will to cross boundaries (both literally and figuratively speaking).While some reviewers found the behavior displayed by some of the Swedish soldiers questionable, they should stop and think about how they would act in war times. Keep in mind, Swedish soldiers were not expecting a fight after Nazi-Germany left them alone and focused on conquering Russia. Crossing a border (the Norwegian one) suddenly shoves reality into their faces, and a cruel one at that.Yes, there might have been some typecasting going on. German captains are sadists with round glasses. The Finnish soldier is the bad-ass, and most Swedes easily startled. But other than that this film poses an important question. Not just a historical one for Swedes to reflect upon, but also for present-day viewers: can you cross the border and give up neutrality if you might have to pay for it with your life?
It's rare to see a serious Swedish war movie, in part due to the lack modern time battles involving the country. In the second world war the country was officially neutral cornered by conflict on all sides. This movie is about a few Swedish soldiers protecting the border against Nazi occupied Norway. A local major decides to be a bit proactive before the, as he sees it, the inevitable German invasion and sends his border patrol in to Norwegian territory for recognizance and sabotage. The major's main guy is lieutenant Stenström who performs well. But when Stenström's brother carelessly crosses the border and gets captured by the sadistic Nazi captain, it gets personal. Stenström recruits his friend Järvinen, a veteran and legend from the Finnish Winter War, and goes deep into enemy territory to free his brother.I rarely like Swedish movies. Mainly it is because they always seem to aim at being everything, covering every genre, and doing too much with limited resources. But Gränsen is different. It is satisfied with being a war movie, and for its purpose, the resources is covering it well. Actually I am surprised with the approach to action and fighting. It is far too easy to overdo it, but Gränsen balances it very nice (even though there are some questions). There is no humongous battles, or Rambo-like gun fights, but it feels much more realistic and plausible with fighting on a much smaller scale.The story is good as well, even though at two hours it is stretching the material pretty thin. Some scenes or subplots that aren't followed up later, or helps the main plot much, should have been cut. Some of the dialog is a little stiff and a few characters a little annoying. None the less, I liked it. Every movie (with extremely rare exceptions) have faults, and Gränsens' is rather minor. They are easy to forgive.Gränsen is a good, entertaining war movie. It was much better than I expected, especially considering the lack of experience doing movies like this in Sweden. If you like a good war movie, you might want to check this out.7/10