The Shadow in My Eye or The Bombardment (Skyggen i mit øje), is a Danish WWII drama movie based on true events. Here is my The Bombardment Review.
The Bombardment Review
Netflix grabbed the distribution rights to a Danish war film from last year called The Shadow in My Eye, and then they released it this last week under the title The Bombardment.
The fates of several Copenhagen residents collide when a WWII bombing mission accidentally targets a school full of children.
So towards the end of World War II, the Gestapo have overtaken a building in Copenhagen or Copenhagen, and to help to protect the building from the attack, they have taken a bunch of Danish resistance leaders and put them in rooms at the top of the building. And what the Nazis don’t know is that the resistance is willing to sacrifice some to save many. So a bombing mission is ordered and because of a mishap, things then go drastically wrong.
The movie starts out with a cheery scene that quickly turns harrowing. It lets us know right from the start that even though they may be bright spots that we see, this is still in wartime and lives are going to be lost.
This is a beautifully shot film. There are many long, continuous takes that also employ a rather shallow depth of field, but it’s not so shallow that the subject is blurry and soft.
There’s also surprisingly little dialogue. I mean, it’s not like there’s no talking at all. And there are some good sequences that have very powerful dialogue exchanges, but there are also large portions where the score takes over and plays out over the action that’s being carried out on the screen.
And that score is seriously moving. The drama of the story builds like just a bunch of dominoes being placed strategically, waiting for that final piece to be laid so that everything can be set in motion. And then it’s complemented by emotional orchestral pieces.
There’s a handful of characters that we follow within this hour and 47 minutes long movie, but for the most part, there’s very little background on them.
There’s Henry, a boy who witnessed something very traumatic which has caused him to be unable to speak. Rigmor is his cousin in Copenhagen who Henry goes to visit in the hopes that the chain of gin scenery is going to help heal him.
Rigmor also has a friend who befriends Henry named Eva, and she’s also witnessed something very traumatic, so that provides a good connection between her and Henry.
All three of them attend a Catholic school where we meet Teresa, a nun who’s kind of having a crisis of faith, and she has an interaction with a Danish young man named Frederik who is collaborating with the Nazis, making him a traitor to his people. And he is also then having kind of a crisis of faith of sorts.
Now the world is intertwined and for some of it their stories are very captivating, but in reality, most of the characters are strangers to us. As I had mentioned, before. I mean, we do get enough from them to connect with them on some level, and despite the lack of character development, I was really sucked into them. What makes this story so intriguing and dramatic, though, is how all of the pieces come together.
I love how the narrative gives us pieces of the story in ways that are dramatic and more effective than how it’s expected that information is going to be given.
For example, when a bombing mission is being detailed, instead of putting us in the room where the briefing is going on, we see a more quiet and subdued display that still illustrates exactly what’s being discussed, but it’s shown in a much more engaging way.
And when the planes take off, there’s about a 20 minutes sequence where we watch the planes flying towards their target. During this, the scenes are intercut with the children at the school practicing for this play, and then we have this combination of Honda’s Hallelujah Chorus with the score, and it makes for a very dramatic sequence.
The cinematography of the entire film is beautiful and it’s immersive. In one scene, the camera effectively tracks the legs of someone who’s running away from another character who’s chasing them, and just seeing the legs run down a sidewalk as the person passes others is unique and it was actually surprisingly effective at drawing my attention.
During the bombing run, the cinematography is stunning. I mean, the shots alternate to give us different vantage points and they change often enough to create visual interest without switching so often to just make it jumbled.
There’s another scene that was especially engaging thanks to some camera techniques. There are following shots where people are walking or running and the camera is on a steadycam to just effectively keep up with the movement while providing a smooth watching experience.
And the final scene of the movie is a long, continuous take that leads a character as they run along the street. Now, the shot isn’t at a set distance, which then allows for the character to get closer or farther away from the camera as the action is happening. I mean, it was a beautiful scene and it’s also pretty emotional.
So going back to the bombing run, we’re told that the bombs are on a timer, which then allows the planes to clear the area after they’ve been dropped. And what I love about this feature is that once the bombs are dropped, a slight ticking sound becomes apparent in the soundtrack that then just begins to build anxiety and anticipation of the coming explosion.
Earlier in the story, there’s a very subtle but clever use of foreshadowing when it comes to a pilot and his Navigator. And, I didn’t realize it was foreshadowing until much later, which I think is why I appreciate it even more. And it’s not this blatant call out to things to come, leaving a lot of the suspense to really be enjoyed.
Now, stylistically, this is a beautiful and stunning film with an engaging human drama angle. The acting is captivating with many characters that are very sympathetic and the way that it all comes together I think is incredibly absorbing.
But despite the beauty of the aesthetics, the presentation only gives us the trauma and violence of the true events without really any reprieve. And I know war is horrific but even for a historical film this doesn’t leave us with any sort of hope, just death, and devastation.
Even in the final title cards before the credits roll we learn of all those that lost their lives in the mishap which doesn’t do anything to pull us out of the Bell jar.
As where I’m torn on this, the visuals, camera work, music, and acting, they’re all wonderfully done. Even despite a serious lack of character development for many of the players.
We get enough though to become engaged with them but not to truly know them. And even with that I was invested in their wellbeing. So when tragedy strikes, I’m concerned.
But the story is almost just a presentation of facts. I mean, of course with some dramatic elements included but the cold facts just leave us depressed when all is said and done. This isn’t something that I’d want to rewatch and simply being educated on a tragedy during wartime doesn’t necessarily make this a reason to drop everything and watch.
That being said though, I think if you understand going into this that you will see spectacular filmmaking but the story is only going to present the horrors of war. I mean If you are OK with that then there’s a lot of appreciation to be gained from watching.
There’s no sex or nudity, some profanity, and some terrible violence.
I am going to give The Bombardment or The Shadow in My Eye 4/5.
Guys thank you so much for reading the review of The Bombardment, Skyggen i mit øje, or The Shadow in My Eye Danish WWII drama movie. See you next time.
The Bombardment Trailer
Here is The Bombardment (The Shadow In My Eye) Official Trailer.