King of Devil's Island


King of Devil's Island

Critics Consensus

Scandinavian in the most bleakly satisfying way, King of Devil's Island satisfies with a richly layered narrative and a typically strong performance from Stellan Skarsgard.



Reviews Counted: 47

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,687


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 4/5

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Movie Info

This true story of the infamous Bastøy Boys Home correctional facility in Norway, begins with the arrival of seventeen-year-old Erling, a rumored murderer. He immediately clashes with the island facility's governor (Stellan Skarsgård), who believes manual labor, rigid discipline, and harsh punishment are the only methods that can turn the boys into honorable members of society. Refusing to accept the constant abuse, Erling slowly rouses the rest of the boys out of their resigned existence, and encourages them to fight to lift up their spirits. When tragedy finally falls at the hand of the sadistic dorm master, Erling leads his comrades in a courageous and vicious rebellion that will bring them head to head with no less than the Norwegian Army. -- (C) Film Movement

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Critic Reviews for King of Devil's Island

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (16)

  • Based on a true story, there is a dramatic force here, even if the whole is a trifle long and repetitive.

    Jun 29, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Robust acting and crisp direction eases the old-rope material through to the inevitable conflagration.

    Jun 28, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Top Critic
  • beneath the staid, ordered, colour-dulled surfaces of Marius Holst's King of Devil's Island lurk various forms of hypocrisy, corruption and abuse, suggesting something very rotten in the (then) state of Norway.

    Jun 28, 2012
  • Rather one-note in its bleakness, and doesn't have a vast amount to say beyond 'reform school sucks'.

    Jun 26, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Possibly no one else does "grim" with as much unsparing enthusiasm as the Scandinavians.

    Mar 16, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Skarsgard is riveting throughout as a man whose high morality is steeped in hypocrisy and whose mask of civility easily slips, when challenged, to reveal the monster beneath.

    Mar 15, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for King of Devil's Island

Ok. I am convinced..Stellan Skarsgard + movie role = quality film! This based-on-a-true-story film is top-notch good. This is what great filmmaking is all about. A magnificent, and unforgettable film. Every scene is perfect, each actor's performance is spot on. If this movie doesn't touch you on some level, I don't know what will. My ONLY complaint is there was no follow up summary, but I guess we can all google things these I forgive them...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


For those who like true stories and abhor cruelty and injustice, this is your film.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

'The King of Devil's Island'. A sobering tale on the abuse of power and the small rebellions that can lead to outright chaos. The grim, beautiful Norwegian winter plays a fine backdrop to all round solid performances.


Super Reviewer

Don't know what part of it is true and what's not, but it's a been-there-seen-it-all plot. The problem here is that the movie neither enlightens nor entertains. The Devil's Island needs a better king.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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