Monday, 19 December 2011
The Kingdom (Riget) 
With The Kingdom, the first of the much acclaimed two-part mini-series, Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier created a wildly original supernatural thriller while also dabbling in gleefully twisted and sardonic black comedy. Set in the titular hospital based in Copenhagen – the largest and most respected in Denmark and the bastion of modern medical science, its ensemble cast portrayed a series of uniquely sketched oddball characters representing nearly the entire hierarchy – a good-natured but perennially confused Chief Medical Officer, an incorrigible Denmark-hating Chief Neurosurgeon, a smart junior doctor who has set-up a mini-establishment of his own within the hospital and is in a relationship with a lady whose pregnancy is progressing at an alarming pace, a rabid professor who’s ready to get a liver with tumour implanted in his body in order to complete his research, the CMO’s socially dysfunctional son who is in love with a much-older nurse, and so forth. Meanwhile an elderly lady, who also happens to the mother of one of the staffs and a self-nominated practitioner of spirituality, senses the presence of the spirit of an unhappy young girl lurking in the hospital, and as she obstinately pursues the girl’s history in order to free her soul, the more she acts as the catalyst of a chain of bizarre and unfortunate incidents. Sepia-toned cinematography played a vital role in creating its eerie and quietly sinister atmosphere and portraying a sense of moral decay, as did the terrific script in bringing forth the director’s grotesque sense of humour. The brilliant final sequence, where the hapless CMO takes government officials around his “model-hospital”, made for a superb finale to the first chapter of this offbeat soap opera.
Director: Lars von Trier
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy/TV Mini-series