© Splendid/24 Bilder

Gletschergrab (Operation Napoleon)
Iceland/Germany 2023

Opening 9 Mar 2023

Directed by: Óskar Thór Axelsson
Writing credits: Arnaldur Indriðason, Marteinn Thorisson
Principal actors: Vivian Ólafsdóttir, Jack Fox, Iain Glen, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson

Based on Icelandic author Arnaldur Indriðason’s eponymous international bestselling thriller, Óskar Thór Axelsson directs with Marteinn Thorisson’s screenplay about how, in the blink of an eye someone’s life can change. Kirsten (Vivian Ólafsdóttir), an ambitious attorney is enjoying a quiet evening at home with her cat when her brother Elias (Atli Óskar Fjalarsson) phones from the glacier Vatnajokull, where he is snowmobiling with friends. Almost simultaneously her colleague (Hjörtur Jóhann Jónsson) shows up with a bottle of wine and too big a smile; the call cuts off. Then a church-type stranger (Wilke Möhring) arrives at the door, and suddenly Kirsten is on the run for her life.

Concurrently, Elias and friends stumble on a piece of history: one of Iceland’s largest glaciers, succumbing to climate warming, exposes a WW II German plane; Elias sends Kirstin photos before fleeing for safety. Kirsten runs to Rósa (Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir) whose help steadies her nerves, until she learns from television news she is a fugitive. Kirsten turns next to Professor Steve Rush (Jack Fox); by helping, Kirsten’s good friend is caught up in the high-stakes international conspiracy. A team of environmentalists under Julie Ratoff (Adesuwa Oni) arrive at the glacier; a high-ranking CIA operative (Iain Glen) springs into nefarious action, and a farmer (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) suddenly has too many uninvited guests. With greed at its root, winner takes all.

The cast and production teams do a fine job in bringing this high-octane espionage caper onto the big screen. Thorisson’s screenplay, however, keeps tripping over itself with too many onscreen scenes where the ensuing action is illogical considering the character’s personality, e.g., Kirsten opening the door to a stranger and then walking away. On the flip side, and other than the peculiar old German plane, the silent and most impressive character is the awesome and awe-inspiring Icelandic scenery. (Marinell Haegelin)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.