My list of foreign world cinema,from the art house to the extreme.
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.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Based on a true story of an early 19th century, Norwegian story about at an uprising at the Bastøy juvenile camp.
I've seen a few of these kinds of movies, and I have to say that while this one was really good, it steered away from the typical abuses on the children by "evil" caretakers. Instead, we see the kids doing some hard labor, but generally given some freedoms and are generally fairly treated considering their situation (Bastøy or prison).
But then it turns out that one of the boys has endured molestation from the "housefather" (I guess he manages the kids, though "Mr. Governor" manages Bastøy). The other kids are led to believe that the housefather was dealt with…
King of Devil's Island (Norwegian: Kongen av Bastøy) Norwegian film, written by Dennis Magnusson and directed by Marius Holst. Starring Stellan Skarsgård and Benjamin Helstad, Kristoffer Joner. It received premier at Lübeck Nordic Film Days. It was filmed in Estonia - based on the actual events that occurred at Bastøy Prison (few miles away from Oslo fjord, Norway).
Set in 1915 - Bestyreren (Stellan) is head of the escape-proof Bastøy detention prison at small islet, funded by the Church. Every now and then juveniles are sailed on boat to detention center, to be brought-up under discipline and code-of-conduct. At detention-center strict and aggressive punishments are carried out against boys who violate the rules - hidden from church.
In the opening…
Like, why didn't they just call, like the police and stuff on their iPhone to like come help them out or something?
Almost gave this four stars, but it is a bit too predictable. Every aspect of it is familiar. We have seen tons of stories like this. With bascially the same characters.
Still it is not a bad movie. Good acting, nice cinematography etc. Worth seeing.
The atmosphere, the acting, the setting, the story... just wow
I got dragged in to this one
Heart rendering true story about an uprising at a notorious correctional facility for juveniles on a Norwegian island. When a new prisoner arrives Erling (Ben Helstand), his unrelenting passion to escape, prevail against repression, and rebel against authority figures immediately puts him in hot water. The young men in this facility must endure horrendous conditions, as well as physical and mental abuse daily. Eriling's unflinching bravery eventually and collectively inspires and galvanizes these young men together in their life altering uprising against oppression.
At first, the young men are unnamed (assigned numbers), completely alone, and without much hope for the future. However, Eriling's tenacious spirit leads to uniting broken spirits, establishing relationships, and not to be afraid to follow your…
This slow building, atmospheric Norwegian(?) drama gets so much right, yet somehow never quite clicks. Set in an isolated boy's home in 1915, a wilful, stubborn new kid upsets the established order and inspires a kow-towing lickspittle to speak out about the injustices he's witnessed. As harsh and bleak as the landscape in which it takes place, certain scenes worked wonderfully, as good as any prison movie (that's what it is, really) I've ever seen. Something, maybe the constantly switching protagonists (troublemaker or lickspittle?), kept me from absolutely loving it though.
I saw this movie two years ago and still think about it. I highly recommend this tense drama that will resonate with you for a long time.
[Originally published on my blog here.]
Norwegian prison drama King of Devil's Island is based on real life events that happened in 1915 at the Bastøy Reform School, located on Bastøy Island south of Oslo. It served as a juvenile detention center for young (underage) offenders from 1900 to 1953 when it was finally taken over by the Norwegian government. It was completely shut down in 1970 and later turned into prison.
Like many other films about juvenile detention centers or boarding schools (Swedish Ondskan comes to mind here) this film includes tyrannical guards, brutal reformatory regimes, sexual abuse, suicide, attempted escape etc. Yes, we've seen it all before, but that doesn't make it any less believable or true. I…
- City of Life and Death
- Valley Of Flowers
- Tokyo Story
- Grand Illusion
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
- White Heat
- A Prophet
- Birdman of Alcatraz
A list of most of the prison films I've seen in order of greatness. No doubt I'm missing quite a…
- Stranger Things
- The Battery
- Berberian Sound Studio
- Breakup at a Wedding
I read the web-publication Filmmaker Magazine regularly. They publish each month a VOD-calendar with their picks and I have used…