King of Devil's Island Reviews
It took me a few days to decide to add this movie to the roster schedule as I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch a movie with subtitles. I'm glad I went as I have never been so captivated watching a movie.
I am only posting this review now as I was thinking about it and thought I'd like to see it on Netflix and couldn't remember the name. I had to go the the calgaryfilm website and look through the archives to find the name.
Sadly, it is not on Netflix. If you ever have a chance to watch this movie, do so.
For those who like true stories and abhor cruelty and injustice,
this is your film.
However, the final scenes isn't as satisfactory as the build up. There are a few scenes and events which just don't gel, and which make the last quarter or so of the movie feel a bit contrived. Credibility is restored somewhat by the moving ending, however.
Good performances all round. The only known actor (to us non-Norwegians, at least) in the cast is Stellan Skarsgard, who seems to appear in every Skandinavian movie. He is excellent, as always, as the governor of the prison.
"A troubled 17 year old leads a violent uprising in Norway's notorious Bastoy Boys Home correctional facility after suffering relentless abuse at the hands of the institutions rigid governor."
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 of movie a new inmate Erling/C-19 (Benjamin Helstad) is sailed to island - C-19 believes he does not belong there and often challenges Bestyreren's rules and punishments. Bestyreren makes sure that C-19 goes through severe punishments for violating rules so that he fit in the environment. These punishments include, standing whole night on stool without sleeping; carrying boulders in harsh icy weather; physical assault, fetching ration under heavy rain from forests.
C-19 attempts to escape the prison on a boat, in the search collects broken-saw to cut chains attached to boat. He often narrates to his new friend to write, about his prevailing memory of a whale with three harpooned thrown at it - which dies slow death. The news of a house-father repeatedly sexually abusing one of the boys whirl around like twister - giving lift-off to uprising.
Anyone who misses on to watching escape-proof prison movies - this Norwegian film is gift for you. The fact that it is made on actual events, makes it even enthralling to watch. Ultimate rise of rebellion among tiny bunch of boys at prison. Challenge taken by young boy to take on adult men in power.
Norway has been offering us quality movies for some years now - it is noticing that countries like Norway and Indonesia have been rising booming cinemas. Last century belonged to Sweden in Scandinavian part, this time certainly Norway is replacing her.