An untold story

Two Lives brings light to riveting, tragic story

By SAMAYA ABDUS-SALAAM
On March 11, 2014

Film: Two Lives

Studio: IFC Films

Release Date: February 28

Grade:B+

 

Some stories are left to die in the annals of history - stories that very few people want to acknowledge or be dragged back into, but when those stories are inevitably brought to light, the result is something triumphant yet tragic. 

Reminiscent of a less action-packed, testosterone-driven Taken, Two Lives is a foreign action and drama film. It opens eyes to an untold story of Nazi oppression - children of Norwegian and German descent like Katrine (Juliane Koehler, Bella Australia) were separated from their families and became war children forced into German orphanages and camps.

The film takes place in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and follows Katrine, who is caught in a lawsuit against the Norwegian government for a crime committed over 50 years prior during the time of Nazi-controlled Germany. As the trial progresses, secret events of Katrine's past begin rising to the surface. 

The beauty of the Norwegian coast, where the film's beginning takes place, is immediately apparent to the audience. And the simple, quiet and serene town that Katrine lives in makes it readily apparent why Koehler's character was determined to run away from Germany, back to her home in Norway. 

Beautiful scenery aside, director George Maas tells the story through flashbacks. The frequency of the flashbacks, particularly early in the film, spurs questions about what exactly is happening.

Maas moves Katrine almost seamlessly through her past and present, but there are a few discrepancies along the way - which leaves viewers with questions and sometimes with no choice but to figure it out for themselves.  

This is especially difficult when it comes to understanding Katrine's family dynamic, an essential portion of the film. Maas clearly wanted to convey how simplistic and normal her family is, but at certain times, having a normal family in the midst of abnormalities just doesn't work.

One moment, it seems as though Katrine is taking part in a trial bringing justice to war children like herself. But in the next moment, mobsters who will stop at no end to get what they want are threatening her and her family's lives.

Nonetheless, Katrine's story is compelling, and her tenacious spirit is admirable. We watch her be forced to relive the terrible events of her past, only to see her life threatened once again almost instantaneously. The scenes quickly progress in intensity, and in a plotline where drama can easily be overdone, Maas finds a way to keep his characters tastefully intriguing.

For a film with a deep and unique storyline, despite its flaws, Two Lives is absolutely worth seeing.

 

email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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