The British Royal Air Force accidentally targets a convent school in Copenhagen during World War II. A story based on true events, ‘The Bombardment’, also known as ‘The Shadow in the Eye’, is an unlikely subversion of the war-film genre which gives a glimpse of post-war suffering instead of focussing on how the catastrophe unfolds. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
It is late winter in Denmark. In a countryside town, a British Royal aircraft bombs a car that carries three women and an old man on their way to a wedding party. A young boy, Henry (Bertram Bisgaard), follows the aircraft and sees the bombed car. Traumatized, he is unable to speak and develops a fear of open skies.
At his mother’s proposal and a doctor’s approval, he is to spend a month at his cousin’s home in Copenhagen.
In Copenhagen, his cousin’s friend Eva sees a man who “knew too much” shot in the head. When Henry arrives, his cousin Rigmor tries to cheer him up. Eva, Rigmor, and Henry walk to their convent together. While he cannot overcome his trauma immediately, he begins to smile, tries to talk, and help in their school.
Teresa is a young nun in the same convent. Disillusioned with her faith in God and the state’s treatment of the jews, she flogs herself in the hope that she will be punished. When she sees a HIPO (auxiliary police) cop beating a prisoner, she calls him the devil.
The cop, Frederick, later comes to the church to learn how to pray from her. The head nun sees them kiss and informs the prioress.
Meanwhile, The British Royal Air Force has planned a targeted attack on the Nazi Police headquarters at Copenhagen. The pilots accidentally target the school.
Eva escapes. Rigmor stays with Teresa, and Frederick is unable to rescue them. Henry helps to connect guardians with their injured and lost wards while combatting his physical and emotional abrasions. The fatal consequences reveal the vulnerability of civilians during a war.
If you have any doubts about the ending, here’s a full breakdown.
The Bombardment ending explained in detail:
Operation Carthage, one of British Airforce’s riskiest missions, aims to bomb the Gestapo headquarters of Copenhagen, The Shell House.
The Nazi authorities have predicted their target and they are using the top floors to imprison members of resistance groups.
This would act as a human shield and stop the British Forces from attacking, however, they decide to sacrifice the lives of a few for the ‘greater good’.
Once the mission has commenced, the soldiers begin preparing. The young soldier who leads the trail is disturbed because he had previously bombed a civilian car by accident.
Henry goes to the convent for the first time and is shown how to “de-poison” the bun Eva and Rigmor routinely buy from a mysterious lady. They dip the bun thrice in holy water and celebrate their survival.
He is still afraid of open skies but is constantly encouraged to overcome his fears.
Humming and hawing
Frederick leaves the corps. The British soldiers embark on their mission. The young distracted pilot crashes the aircraft against a roof which leads them to lose their trail.
It is Teresa’s last day at the convent. Eva leaves home without breakfast and her father shouts at her.
In school, Rigmor is rehearsing an act when Eva’s stomach begins to pain. Henry takes her outside to the hall to eat a bun and suddenly there is an explosion. Some bombs miss their target and hit the school, while others hit The Shell House.
Students and nuns are led to the basement. Rigmor stays with Teresa while Henry and Eva escape outside. Henry relives his trauma when he sees the fighter jets and hurries inside, but Eva walks towards home.
When parents are informed of the tragedy, they rush to the school in horror. Teresa and Rigmor are alive and trapped in the basement which is slowly filling with water. The army tries to pump the water out and save them.
Frederick crawls down to the basement and sees Teresa. In a flicker of a moment, debris rumbles down the basement and she dies.
Upstairs, parents realize they have lost their daughters. Eva’s mother comes out of the auditorium where they were seated and asks Henry if he had seen a girl matching Eva’s description. Henry tells her she had left for home.
Overwhelmed and confused, Eva’s mother rushes to the house and finds Eva finishing her breakfast. She falls down on her knees and starts crying out of relief.
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