King of Devil's IslandNovember 18, 2011
Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 7.5/10 (1,965 voted)
Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Benjamin Helstad, Kristoffer Joner
Based on a true story: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the island Bastoy, located in the Oslo fjord live a group of delinquent, young boys aged 11 to 18. The boys daily, sadistic regime is run by the guards and the principal who bestow both mental and physical abuse on them. Instead of the boys being straightened out with education they end up being used as cheap, manual labor. The boys attempt to survive by adapting to their inhumane conditions. One day a new boy, Erling (17), arrives with his own agenda; how to escape from the island. How far is he willing to go in order to get his freedom? After a tragic incident takes place, Erling ends up forced into the destinies of the other boys by leading them into a violent uprising. Once the boys manage to take over Bastoy 150 government soldiers are sent in to restore order.
Writers: Lars Saabye Christensen, Dennis Magnusson
Odin Gineson Brøderud
Agnar Jeger Holst
Tommy Jakob Håland
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Release Date: 18 November 2011
Filming Locations: Estonia
Box Office Details
Budget: NOK 54,000,000
(5 February 2012)
Did You Know?
People from more than 14 countries were represented on the set.
Very well done Greek tragedy in early 20th century setting
Very strong drama with also very believable acting, taking place on a
prison island, from which no one ever has escaped. The strong
discipline, the pecking order between inmates, harsh punishments when
violating the rules, the religious beliefs of the governor, it is all
there to support the main theme.
The newcomer takes the lead in the story very quickly, thereby guided
with fantasies a la Moby Dick (Melville), about a whale that struggles
nearly a day in spite of three harpoons. He has not learned to read or
write, but finds a fellow inmate to take notes. Throughout the film we
return to this theme several times. The way he describes the struggling
whale, works like a metaphor and is very compelling.
Near the end I expected a destructive finale like in IF (1968, by
Lindsay Anderson), but this time they found something different to wrap
up the story, more in line with a Greek tragedy. Very well done. Do not
expect a happy ending, as you won't get any. The final music, however,
allowed me to leave the theater with a positive feeling, regardless of
the foregoing nearly 2 hours without any happy events.