On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

The Shadow in My Eye / The Bombardment

Title: The Shadow in My Eye / The Bombardment
Director: Ole Bornedal (Denmark)
Cast: Bertram Bisgaard Enevoldsen, Ester Birch, Ella Josephine Lund Nilsson
Released: 2021
Playtime: 107 minutes

There was a time when civilisations would go on wars in the name of religion. Then there was another, when a race was at war against one religion. This historical drama by Netflix is about the latter. There are a hundred ways to show how war kills the child in a child, but this masterpiece shows the most brutal of all. Based on reality, the movie depicts incidents leading upto March 21st, 1945, when the British Royal Air Force plans to bomb the Gestapo’s headquarters in Copenhagen but accidentally bombs a school, killing over 120 people, 86 of whom where children.

Inspired by the likes of Life is Beautiful and Jojo Rabbit, the movie is an ensemble drama with three kid protagonists at its soul, each taking the audience through their individual experience of WWII. The movie opens with Henry (Bertram Bisgaard Enevoldsen), enjoying the beautiful Denmark countryside on his bicycle. That is when an RAF fighter jet mistakes a local taxi (couple miles ahead of Henry) for a German staff car and strikes it. Scarred by the sight of four dead bodies in the taxi, Henry is rendered mute. The aftermath also leaves him traumatised by the open skies. Having consulted doctors in vain, his mother takes him to her sister's place in Copenhagen. Enters Rigmor, Henry's cousin (Ester Birch), also friends with Eva (Ella Josephine Lund Nilsson) who witnesses the killing of a spy in the middle of the street.

Suspense deepens and stories intertwine when Sister Teresa (Fanny Bornedal, also daughter of director Ole Bornedal), who is almost on the verge of losing her faith in religion in the wake of atrocious war, is the teacher of the three kids. As the movie rolls, multiple plot lines and characters keep unravelling until Frederik (Alex Høgh Andersen), a Danish auxiliary police corps, encounters Sister Teresa.

It is not often that movies depict touchy subjects like religious perspectives, let alone include something as impactful as Rigmor's conversation with Sister Teresa in the basement at climax. The nun-culture sheds light on aspects such as God and wrath, and sins and penance. With the perfect concoction of drama, tragedy and comedy, the thriller movie gives a strong high.

The script evolves gradually and ticks most boxes on emotional level, if not on technical level. Why? Because it seems some character arcs remain half-introduced, undeveloped and are blown out just as quickly as a wick of a burning candle. A small sequence of the movie remains unfocused and hazy and slows the segment altogether. The pacing of the story starts when Henry, Rigmor and Eva build a bond over their own accounts of their war-ridden lives. Hence the name, bombardment through the eyes of children.

Initially, there is a constant fear of death that follows Henry through Denmark. The trauma peaks into something else for him, while Eva's (the poster child) is left open-ended. Switching between the mysteriously beautiful little world of the three children and the unfortunate 'bombardment';, it is actually the shadow of war and consequent horror that is in the eyes of one and all.

We all know children are a perfect way to show how innocent the world can truly be. Combine it with a vengeful colour scheme, strong acting, opposing needs, interesting storylines tied and crisscrossing to just one tragic point, that one disturbing event: climax, and you get The Shadow in my eye (also called: The Bombardment.

Rating: (Good)


Article by:
Raveena Singh
Published on: