I read the web-publication Filmmaker Magazine regularly. They publish each month a VOD-calendar with their picks and I have used…
King of Devil's Island
Based on a true story: Norwegian winter, 1915. On the island Bastøy, outside Oslo, a group of young boys aged 11 to 18, are held in an institution for delinquent youth, notorious for its sadistic regime. One day a new boy, Erling, arrives, determined to escape from the island. After a tragic incident, he ends up leading the boys in a violent uprising. When the boys manage to take over the island, 150 soldiers are sent in to restore order.
King of Devil’s Island is an accomplished Nordic prison drama centring on an uprising at the unforgiving borstal on the Bastøy Prison island. The rebellion is a fictionalised account of real events that occurred in 1915 as a group of young offenders fight against their strict rulers and harsh conditions. The broad strokes of the plot will feel familiar to anybody who has seen a prison drama before (the tyrannical guards, attempts at escape and a sense of camaraderie amongst the inmates) but the young cast and forbidding landscape helps make the film stand apart from its contemporaries.
It’s easy to see why Bastøy Prison was used for 50 odd years and why it would break the spirits of many…
Another good one! I'm liking my list a lot so far!
Since I've seen Oslo August 31st, Reprise, the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and even the fan favorite Troll Hunter I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to continue my streak of great films from the Scandinavian region.
King of Devil's Island probably sounded like a weird choice for my Norwegian film, but I chose it because of its interesting setup, and its easy availability on Netflix. There are probably better Norwegian films out there, but this film was absolutely great and I'm very glad I included it.
The film is a dramatization of a…
King of Devil's Island is based on the true story of an uprising at the infamous Bastøy Boys home correctional facility in Norway. The bleak surroundings and bitter cold are captured beautifully, allowing us to feel these young boy's misery as they face not only the elements, but the extreme abuse of power by the staff. The this place sucks story has been done to death, but solid acting and directing make King of Devil's Island a good film that's well worth seeing.
King of Devil’s Island offers a sensitive, yet haunting depiction of a tragic chapter in Norwegian history. Set in 1915, inside a correctional facility for difficult boys on the island of Bastøy, this touching drama exposes the corruption, exploitation and physical and mental abuse that occurred within.
The intense narrative is supplemented by a compelling metaphor of a young fisherman’s battles with a determined whale; an allegory that matches the coming of age sentiments at the heart of this gripping study of injustice, friendship and uprising against a brutal regime.
The entire cast provide convincing performances, with Benjamin Helstad and Stellan Skarsgård as the standouts, but the strength of this film is in its detailed milieu. Production design, costumes and…
Stellt euch vor, Antoine Doinel findet am Ende von "Sie küssten und sie schlugen ihn" eine Waffe und dreht wieder um. Oder die Kinder in Jean Vigos Zéro de conduite greifen zu mehr als Kissen. Ein Film wie ein Konzentrationslager. Intensiv erzählt, intensiver gespielt. Fast physische Wut und Frustration.
Basierend auf wahren Begebenheiten? Schön, aber egal. Emotionale Wahrheit wiegt im Kino mehr als Fakten. Ein Film der uns die dunkle Seite zeigt. Leider nicht immer so stilsicher wie gewünscht, die Titanic-Bildsprache am Ende hätte nicht sein müssen. Trotzdem: Packend wie die Hände der Unterdrücker. Bewegend, aber auf die Art, wie man von einem Soldat durch den Schnee gezerrt wird auf dem Weg zum sicheren Ende.
Damn, that's ruined my mood.
Seriously though this was a tremendous film that really gives a punch. Harrowing and unsettling for it's honest depiction of a rather unsavoury part of Norwegian history.
The young cast are excellent across the board and really show up the failings of many Hollywood peers while the always brilliant Stellan Skarsgård plays his unpleasant role well.
Marius Holst was unknown to me but his direction here is simple and elegant and he manages to balance the darker elements with a sweet tale of friendship and honour. The landscapes are as harsh as they are beautiful and captured wonderfully, adding a hefty dose of realism to the film.
Recommended. Though you'll be down on the world for a while after.
Wow! Just wow.
I was dubious going into this film, I usually am when starting a film I've never heard of - even more so if it's subtitled due to being in a different language as this one is.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this film. It was both heartbreaking and enlightening at the same time. So hard hitting and horrible to watch in places, but then had me rooting for them all the same.
Having known nothing about the true story behind the film, I looked it up on the good old internet. Such a horrible story, the film managed to tell it in a way that made me glad to have seen it.
Stellan Skarsgård was amazing at times, and I could really tell that he felt for the boys. I wonder if that really was the case back in 1915.
Definitely one to watch again.
"The film is as blue and bleak as one might expect to come from a Scandanavian film, but the real magic lies in the narrative, slowly building up tension until it can no longer be contained, resulting in a cathartic final act."
Kongen av Bastøy is a showcase of bitterly amazing acting and an enduring story. I am so thankful to have come across this film. We as an audience really feel the frigid, solid mass of sullen emotion - sympathy and doubt to vengeance and anger that melt the frozen Norwegian ground itself - endured by the young lads at the hands of their grim 'Governor.' The ice around my own heart cracked by the end of the film. Highly recommend it.
Notes: Anything featuring Sigur Rós in its soundtrack will make me cry. I also kept thinking that the Housefather Bråthen looked like David Bowie, and - ironically - the day I watched the first 1/4 of Bastøy was the day Bowie passed.
schönes Setting, gute Schauspieler allerdings pacing und Story schwächen
Heavy hitting film
Well, I know most people liked this Norwegian historical prison drama and I know that is based on an actual rebelion of the youth incarcerated at the infamous Bastoy prison, and I will even give the movie some credit but ultimately I was not too impressed since there where practically no surprises here.
Cold and bleak. There is truly nothing new but really works with it's strong performances and tense atmosphere.
Fantastically made across all fronts... but the story is predictable and somewhat of a who cares. But the sheer quality of the execution makes it worth a look.
[...] Es sind die Feinheiten, die Regisseur Marius Holst hier thematisiert, subtil verpackt und unheimlich Wirkungsvoll. Bei Ankunft endet für die verurteilten Jungs ihre bisherige Existenz – selbst ihres Namens werden sie beraubt und mit einem Nummer versehen – von nun an zählt nur noch eins: Gehorsam. Absoluter Gehorsam und das wortlose Schlucken jeglicher Demütigungen. Jedes Widerwort kann und wird den Aufenthalt verlängern.
Feinfühlig wird C19’s Psyche beleuchtet. Der zornige, verschlossene Junge rebelliert und will sich nicht fügen – als einer der wenigen Insassen in den letzten Jahren – und prallt ungebremst mit dem sadistischen Aufseher Brathen aufeinander. Nach und nach öffnet er sich seinen Mitgefangenen und der Rebell in ihm will die Zustände nicht weiter schlucken.
Schlucken muss auch…