The Good Traitor is an interesting look into the life of Henrik Kauffmann that falls apart because of its uneven storytelling choices.
I adore my historical dramas especially as someone who is a major history buff, I can thank my brother for teaching me that. This film caught my eye because this was always something about World War II that interested me. I never thought that I would see a biopic on Henrik Kauffmann ever be made. Also, it was being presented in conjecture with the upcoming Nashville Jewish Film Festival which caught my eye while watching the introduction before the film. This was my last film of the festival but I did not want to end my coverage on such a negative note so I still have much to discuss.
The film is directed by Christina Rosendahl and written by her along with Kristian Bang Foss and Dunja Gry Jensen. The film stars Ulrich Thomsen, Denise Gough, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, and Zoë Tapper. The Good Traitor looks at the life of Henrik Kauffmann who was the Danish ambassador to Washington DC during the beginning of the second world war. Kauffmann helped to sign the United States’ acquisition of Greenland in order to help his country of Denmark. Sadly, I cannot report back that The Good Traitor is anything other than a messy depiction of a flawed man.
This film is beautifully shot by the cinematographer, Louise McLaughlin. I actually do like Ulrich Thomsen’s quiet and patient performance. My main gripes with this film comes from its very clunky script. The film tries to juggle his personal affairs in his family life while also trying to remind the viewer that the nation of Denmark is occupied by the Nazis. Every time we somewhat get to the interesting fluff of the film it gets interrupted by having to go back to the lackluster depiction of his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Charlotte. A clunky script followed by an uneven pace that makes having to get through this film difficult. I also just could not get behind some of the performances other than Thomsen in the film. I did find the set design and overall production design of the film to be exquisite. You could tell that the team was dedicated to portraying the time period in Denmark accurately. Even though, I did not think highly of this film, I do recommend people watch it as it is discussing an important part of world history that easily helped the US’s involvement in World War II.
Watch The Good Traitor on Hulu and consider attending the hybrid Nashville Jewish Film Festival on October 14th.