King of Devil's Island | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 112 minutes · 2010

Historical Drama
No less handsome or boring than most Academy Award winners, this big-budget period piece (2010), named best picture of the year in its native Norway, tells the audience things it already knows and makes the lessons seem very serious and important. It's based on the true story of a 1915 rebellion at a strict reformatory for boys, though much of the drama is drawn from classic prison movies like Cool Hand Luke and The Shawshank Redemption. The characters include a paternal but merciless headmaster (Stellan Skarskård), a rebellious, free-spirited inmate (Benjamin Helstad), and a sensitive one who cares for animals. There's nothing wrong with recycling a successful formula, but the film is so leaden and self-serious that the archetypal elements fall flat. Marius Holst directed. In Norwegian with subtitles.
Director: Marius Holst
Cast: Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Ellen Petersen, Kimmo Rajala, Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Magnus Langlete and Morten Lovstad

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