Original / alternative title: En fiende att dŲ fŲr
Running time: 105 minutes
Language: Swedish / German / English
In August 1939 German scientific expedition to arctic Svalbard archipelago plans to prove theory of Alfred Wegener that all the continents were in the past one giant supercontinent that he called Pangaea. Friedrich, head of the expedition, is very excited since the German scientists will be joined by their colleagues from Sweden and Great Britain. When they reach the Svalbard area grim news are delivered from Berlin - Germany have just invaded Poland. Friedrich does what he can to keep the spirit among the scientists and appeals to them to separate themselves from the political storm that is brewing in Europe right now. They all agree that their scientific goal should be above the politics, but soon another message destroys the balance between Germans and rest of the crew - Great Britain and France have just declared war against Germany and it seems that their expedition will soon be terminated anyway. The news from Berlin put extra pressure on Friedrich - he has to inform his assistant Leni that her brother was just arrested by Gestapo, also their ship was just commissioned to help the Kriegsmarine efforts in the Northern Atlantic. To make things worse he discovers that one of the crew members has kept his true identity secret.
Swedish film (made in cooperation with German companies) tells the drama aboard the research vessel when World War 2 has started in Europe - the scientists had to quickly adapt to new situation and face the reality that now they are enemies. While the concept was rather good and had potential to create interesting thriller film failed due to rather unrealistic details that made no sense in the story. First of all the multinational German expedition would not take place on the eve of World War 2 - because of the obvious reasons Germans would not send ship that would be useful for Kriegsmarine on scientific trip, especially with foreigners aboard (including British citizen). Second detail - the crew consisted of several Russians and in few scenes there are references to them having relatives in Poland, which frankly is quite impossible (Soviets despised Poles). Another thing is at one point it is referenced that radio operator was passing informations to Polish partisans and it is wrong on many levels: in September 1939 the Polish army was still defending the country so there were no partisans yet, Russian radio operator wouldnít be able to reach Polish partisans (where would he get the contact?), Russian radio operator would not have any interest in passing informations to Polish partisans (because Soviet Union also invaded Poland in September 1939), not to mention that a research ship in Svalbard would for the partisans hardly be right place to look for useful information while German invasion is ongoing.
An Enemy to Die For was interesting project showing how the situation may change even among colleagues who try to concentrate on their professional goals, how politics may change even the good people when they are facing such crisis. Also it was good approach to make wartime thriller, but in details the whole story fell apart and the creator missed the opportunity to make something good from the premise.
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An Enemy to Die For
as ship captain