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King of Devil's Island (3 stars)

Slow-burning but satisfying prison drama starring Stellan Skarsgård

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King of Devil's Island

There is a steely Dickensian sweep to King Of Devil’s Island, a grimly compelling dramatisation of true events from 1915. The notorious correctional facility for ‘maladjusted’ boys on Bastoy Island belongs to the pages of Oliver Twist. The desolate, wintry location off the coast of Norway is as atmospheric as the marshlands where Pip first encounters Magwitch in Great Expectations. Rank injustice, rebellion and the celebration of an indominatable human spirit are also the kind of themes that Dickens might have admired

It may sound old-fashioned but director Marius Holst lends a fresh conviction to the familiar cliches of the prison melodrama. Seventeen-year-old Erling (Benjamin Helstad) arrives at Bastoy trailing rumours that he has killed a man. He quickly realises that he is trapped in a hell on earth where weary governor Hakon (Stellan Skarsgård) maintains an unwavering belief in hard manual labour. Erling’s determination to escape and to rouse his fellow inmates into defiance makes him the hero of a slow-burning but satisfying drama that persuasively blends elements of Scum and Papillon.

Selected release from Fri 27 Jul.

King of Devil's Island

  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • Norway
  • 116 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Marius Holst
  • Written by: Dennis Magnusson
  • Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Benjamin Helstad, Kristoffer Joner

Based on a true story of the brutal uprising at Bastoy reform school for underprivileged boys Stellan Skarsgård's governor Hakon turns a blind eye to obvious abuse. A slow burning but satisfying drama.

Elsewhere on the web

King Of The Devils Island - Norwegian Movie Trailer [ENG][HD]

Comments

1. Debs T2 Oct 2012, 9:51am Report

This truly was fist clinching & teeth grit-tingly superb...well worth the watch, one of my favourite films of the year!

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