Eirik Svensson’s has created a compelling and moving humanist tale here with Betrayed. A film that is a haunting reminder of the pain of your own community and friends deserting you and at times condemning you to a horrible fate.
Based on True Events. The Nazi agenda knew no borders. As the war spread into Europe. Hitler’s control became ever more evident. As the war enters Norway, communities are torn apart as the Braude family deal with the consequences of being Jewish. Following the families struggle as the life they knew and loved is ripped from them by the tides of war.
Betrayed adds to the growing line of excellent international films that depict how World War II affected their country. This time out following events that occurred to Jewish citizens of Norway. As we witness, the men of the Braude family get sent to the prisoner camp in Berg from orders of the Reich. Here we see the pain and physical torment that the men go through each day as they build the camp and carry out gruelling exercises. On the other side, we watch as the matriarch Sara is put through the mental pain of being quickly ostracised from her neighbours and feeling less and less like a citizen of the country she has made her home.
Having us witness both the life in the camp and the pain of remaining in the city where our loved ones and close friends have been taken away allows the feeling of emptiness to grow further to compelling levels. With Sara’s experience, we have a character who desperately need to know the fate of her family and the fact that the people she is asking is people that she knows pulls you.
Equally, we have a compelling situation of seeing Norwegians who feel they have no other choice but to follow the orders given and to cast aside all loyalty to their friends and this is shown wholly in the character of Knut Rød. He has to follow through with all of these genuinely horrible orders, yet when given a chance to betray the Nazi’s and save a neighbour, he has a tough call to make. You buy his conflict in this world, and there is another character at the camp which is yelling and threatening those he knows. Yet when out of shot of anyone, he is clearly drinking to get through the day.
By having well-rounded characters on all sides, we are allowed to appreciate the whole tale. With the Braude’s, their pain and fears are felt. Sara hides her money and rings from auditors coming to value everything in her home. The tense scene with them as they catch where she has hidden them ramps up, and you fear the consequences. Yet again, a tender moment comes in from in an unexpected way. The range of emotions on Pia Halvorsen’s face as she goes from the realisation of getting caught, the stress of what might happen and then the thankfulness of not having everything taken is astounding. It is this understated nature that excels Betrayed.
Never do we see the worst of what happened during this time, but we do see its trauma. The pain of having to experience this and when the camera decides to settle on the imagery without humans in the shot is when Eirik Svensson has you. The final shots before the epilogue are haunting as the camera just lingers. We know what happens next to the characters; we don’t need to see it. Goodness knows we have done so, so many times.
So by not showing us this, we already have a clear picture in our head of what is actually happening, so by leaving the camera continually where he does, it affects you. One striking shot is the pile of identity cards left to the side, no longer needed, then the staff remaining quietly pile them up into tidy little piles. You realise the lack of humanity that was shown. The distance was already there in how communities turned on one another to make sure they sided with the dominant side.
The entire cast does a tremendous job here as Jakob Oftebro and Pia Halvorsen are the standouts here as mother and son Charles and Sara Braude. As Oftebro has the more physical role, it is still no less emotionally draining. Charles is put through the wringer as he tries to support his brothers and father while not giving in to the temptation of either making an escape or taking up a guard on a tempting offer. Halvorsen, as mentioned, is the heart of the film, as she tries to keep herself and others together while the world that they know has steadily fallen apart.
For a fairly straightforward film, there is a large amount of emotional complexity here. It’s a powerful story, and the way it is told works very well and Betrayed never falters or has any faults that distract you from the piece, which can be quite something for another film set during WWII. By highlighting what happened throughout Europe, films like Betrayed allow audiences to get a fuller grasp of what happened during this time and a growing reminder of the horror that occurred.
Betrayed that you have to watch, and while it never makes itself a film that has stunning moments. It builds itself up well, and with all aspects from script to editing working so effectively, you become compelled right up until that haunting last shot.
Signature Entertainment presents Betrayed on Digital Platforms & DVD now.
Amazon DVD: https://amz.run/4W03
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