Underlying true story not done justice with this meek film
"Across the Waters" (2016 release from Denmark; 93 min.) brings the story of the Itkin family. As the movie opens with "Inspired by True Events", we are told it is "Autumn 1943" and we get to know Arne Itkin, a jazz player, and his wife Miriam and their 6 yr. old son Jacob. It is not long before the word comes that the Nazis are about to come around in Copenhagen to round out the Jews. A mad scramble ensue, and the Itkin family is desperately looking for a way to get to Sweden. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is written and directed by Nicolo Donato, whose grandparents were among the Jews that escaped Denmark for Sweden. This movie, "inspired" by these events, by all means should be a riveting viewing experience, with such sting underlying material. Alas, it is not. The movie is torpedoed by a weak script and acting performances. The script is riddled by cliches left and right. The performers given wooden acting performances, and you can just feel the director screaming "and ... ACTION!" before we move on to a new scene. On top of all that, most of the movie is shot with hand-held cameras (and hence plenty of shaking footage), and with generous use of extreme close-ups, inducing me to have a headache by the end of the movie. It's a darn shame, to be honest. I would've loved to see a Steven Spielberg taking on this material...
I recently saw this at the 2018 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati. The Sunday matinee screening where I saw this at was absolutely packed to the rafters. "Across the Waters" brings an important chapter of Jewish life in Denmark during WWII, so it's with a heavy heart that I cannot give this a better rating...
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