Into the Darkness Parent Guide
A sprawling drama, this movie takes a probing look at how the Nazi occupation affects a Danish family and nearly tears it apart.
Parent Movie Review
On April 9th, 1940, Nazi troops marched into Denmark. Within six hours, the government had capitulated and all military forces were recalled. For the Skov family, everything is now tinged with uncertainty. The immediate concern for family patriarch Karl (Jesper Christensen) is the electronics business he operates. It relied primarily on shipments to and from England, which are now forbidden. As Karl struggles with his logistical problems and wrestles with his conscience as he tries to decide if he’s going to sell products to Germany, he finds that his family might be in as much trouble as his business. Karl and his wife Eva (Bodil Jørgensen) have five adult children, who are making perilous and often divergent choices in the ethical minefields that surround them. Meanwhile, the war spreads to the Soviet Union, and the situation in Denmark continues to degrade. The facts of the Nazi occupation require all Danes to choose a side, and time is running out for Karl to make that choice.
Although that synopsis sounds simple, this film is a sprawling drama with dozens of major named characters – hence the two-and-a-half hour runtime. What’s more, this is only part one of a two part series, which means the ending leaves plenty of plotlines unresolved. If you’re looking for a nice, simple, digestible piece of media, Into the Darkness is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to explore morality and family relationships under extreme pressure, this is an excellent choice.
For such a long, sprawling movie, the pacing in Into the Darkness is surprisingly consistent. It doesn’t exactly race, but it doesn’t drag either. With so many characters, the film has the advantage of being able to jump from one subplot to another to keep things moving. That, however, comes with a downside: You have to pay attention to all of the subplots and keep track of a lot of characters to avoid confusion. Luckily for you, the movie is streaming online, so you can pause and take bathroom breaks – a necessity in a lengthy, complex production.
While this Danish blockbuster isn’t suitable for children (they tend to dislike subtitles), it avoids a good deal of typical wartime gore. There is one brief scene of female nudity, but on the other hand, there’s almost no profanity of any kind. I’m going to reserve judgement on the story as a whole until I see the conclusion (due in Denmark in early 2022 and hopefully shortly thereafter in North America ), but based on what I’ve seen so far, I expect a good deal of ethical turmoil and a lot more excitement. And that has to be a good thing…right?Directed by Anders Refn. Starring Jesper Christensen, Bodil Jørgensen, and Mads Reuther . Running time: 152 minutes. Theatrical release May 24, 2021. Updated May 24, 2021
Watch the trailer for Into the Darkness
Into the Darkness
Rating & Content Info
Why is Into the Darkness rated Not Rated? Into the Darkness is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: Several people are shot and injured or killed in a wartime context. One person is killed in an explosion. Characters are beaten or threatened with violence. There are references to atrocities and war crimes committed by the Nazis, but these are not seen on screen.
Sexual Content: There are two sex scenes, one of which includes female toplessness. There are references to abortion.
Profanity: There are occasional mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People are seen drinking socially and smoking tobacco, as was typical of the period.
Page last updated May 24, 2021
Into the Darkness Parents' Guide
What do you know about the history of Denmark during World War II? Do you think Denmark’s leaders did the right thing in surrendering immediately when the Nazis invaded? If you were Karl, would you have sold products to Germany? What do you think of the other choices his family members made? What were the risks of belonging to the Resistance?
Wikipedia: Denmark in World War II
Tolerance Project: Hitler’s Pet Canary Revolts: Denmark’s Living Wall of Resistance
Related home video titles:
Other World War II wartime dramas with a focus on Nazi occupation include The Book Thief, Schindler’s List, The Zookeeper’s Wife, of course, Casablanca. If you’re looking for the military side, A Bridge Too Far, Saving Private Ryan, and Thin Red Line are all good options. Hacksaw Ridge tells the unbelievable true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who participated in the Battle of Okinawa as a field medic without ever using a weapon. Willi Lismal commands a German submarine in this film. To see the effect German U-boats had on trans-Atlantic shipping, the recently-released Tom Hanks film Greyhound pits a group of German submarines against a beleaguered convoy.