What if a man accused of selling secrets to the enemy was, in actuality, a NINJA (???!!!). From that amusing premise, dreamed up by director Thomas Cappelen Malling in his childhood while idly watching televised news reports, 'Norwegian Ninja' has been born. Surprisingly enough, it's based on fact. (No, not the ninja part.)

Back in the early 80s, a diplomat named Arne Treholt was accused of high treason for selling government secrets to the Evil Empire (i.e. the Soviet Union and Iraq). He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, though he continues to claim that he is innocent of all charges. In the seemingly lighthearted film version, Treholt (Mads Ousdal) is a government-sanctioned ninja and lives on an island where he trains other agents in the way of the ninja: appearing in a puff of smoke out of nowhere, stalking without being seen, etc. (The island is protected by the powers of Feng Sui.) All of Treholt's actions, illustrated with real TV news footage from the time, are reimagined as part of a larger scheme to protect the peace and security of the people of Norway. The film is very funny in its own intentionally silly way, though it probably stretches its premise too thin for non-Norwegian audiences unfamiliar with the notorious case. 'Norwegian Ninja' scores points, however, for its stylish recreation of low-budget 80s films and its still relevant message about government collusion.
categories Cinematical