The Reel Review


A Reykjavik lawyer is caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse after her explorer brother texts her video footage of a long-crashed-and-buried, WWII-era Nazi German military plane he’s just uncovered on Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnojökull. Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Vivian Ólafsdóttir and Jack Fox star in this spy thriller based on Arnaldur Indridason‘s 1999 best seller.

Atli Oskar Fjalarsson in Operation Napoleon

What starts off as a potentially promising tale with pretty impressive visuals steadily devolves into a silly, ramshackle drama more suitable for a third rate, no name television streaming service. Operation Napoleon suffers from weak, low stakes storytelling, listless, phoned-in direction and acting performances stiffer than those well-preserved bodies in the snow. Why is our protagonist so calm after witnessing the murder of her colleague in her home?

Vivian Ólafsdóttir, Jack Fox and Annette Badland in Operation Napoleon

The film’s only real positives are the gorgeous visuals of the Icelandic countryside and Annette Badland (Ted Lasso’s bar keeper Mae) as the badass, gun-toting widow with knowledge of the secret plane. It’s hardly enough, however, to make this cheesy production and its painfully feeble attempts at quirky Icelandic humor worth sitting through.


• Iceland-born Vivian Ólafsdóttir also stars in the 2023 horror/creature feature It Hatched.

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

• Although he is best known as Jorah Mormont in HBO’s Game of Thrones, Scottish-born Iain Glen’s acting credits include the 2023 Amazon series The Rig and 2020’s Black Beauty,

Operation Napoleon director Óskar Þór Axelsson also directed the 2012 crime drama Black’s Game, Iceland’s second-highest grossing film of all time.

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