Friday, 23 December 2011
King of Devil's Island 
Prison dramas, where inmates revolt against domineering and ruthless supervisors, have been attempted number of times with varying effects. What has separated this Norwegian from most others is that it has been based on a real event, and the correctional home is filled with juvenile inmates rather than hardened criminals. The time is 1915, and the place is Bastoy Boys’ Home – located at a godforsaken island far off the mainland. The harsh Arctic climate, which soon proceeds towards an even harsher winter, forms the perfect juxtaposition to the kind of brutal treatment meted out to the kids and teenagers by the powers that be in the name of Christian discipline. Stellan Skarsgard marvelously employed his imposing physical presence to play the role of the institution’s Governor – a highly ambiguous character who has surrendered himself to ruling everyone with an iron fist while being a reasonable person in essence. The real monster however happens to the abusive and sadistic Dorm Master. The arrival of an insolent and rebellious young whaler, who refuses to bow down to the administration despite receiving corporal punishments at regular intervals, acts as the catalyst for eventually inspiring all his fellow inmates to spontaneously rise up in a violent uprising, oblivious of the equally violent crackdown that they would receive. The brooding tone, moody atmosphere, and impressive pacing, made this tightly-scripted prison drama an engaging watch.
Director: Marius Holst
Genre: Drama/Prison Drama/Historical Drama