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The Kingdom (Riget I) is quite simply a classic work of modern cinema. It's
creepy, it's funny, it's emotional...and so much more. It grabs the viewer
and does not let go until the end of each episode. Then, you want to view
the next episode right away! It is like a great book which keeps you turning
the pages one after another, after another...
I first saw The Kingdom on video and was blown away by the odd characters and the peculiar script of ideas. The story gets even more bizarre and twisted in Riget II, which has never been officially released in North America...but is available as an import for those interested. The full series is something I feel the urge to view again on a regular basis. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I've owned four subsequent editions on VHS and DVD. The official released 4-DVD import set from Denmark is the best, containing the full uncut versions of Riget 1 & 2.
The choice of the actors and actresses turned out perfect for the series, it is these performances that make The Kingdom work so flawlessly well. Ernst-Hugo Järegård & Kirsten Rolffes are the two most memorable roles in the series, and it is sad that they've both passed away. This is unfortunate as there would have been a Riget III to finish off the complete tales of The Kingdom, according to the words of Von Trier at least. It looks like that a Part 3 will never happen though, since two of the best leads of the project are gone forever.
The way The Kingdom was filmed has a stylish look that is very organic, believable, and creepy when it needs to be. They tried many things to get a deliberate "dirty look" for the series, and I think they hit the mark dead on.
Stephen King also happens to be a fan of The Kingdom, and is currently working on a longer North American version of the series. I've heard it will be fully over 20 hours, but that could be just a wild rumor. I am skeptical that this will work, but we'll just have to wait and see what it's like. Perhaps Part 3 of the story will finally get completed in this version. I'm sure I will always enjoy Von Trier's original the most, but it would be nice simply to know how the unfinished story of Part 3 evolves and is concluded...
I never gave a score of 10 to a movie before. However, Riget (or "The
kingdom" as I saw it) is the most amazing piece of art I
The camera work is the most amazing I ever saw. You get into the right mood just by seeing the first pictures.
The characters are real, unique and detailed.
The comedy moments are funny and the horror is creepy, couldn't expect more from the movie. Holywood with its budget should learn a few things.
Few films have had me in their grip as von Trier's THE KINGDOM. Difficult
describe in words. Basically a horror epic that takes you to a hospital
no self-respecting human would set foot in. The camerawork is a real feat
genius. Why? Well, for such jerky movement to hold my attention for 4 AND
ONE HALF HOURS I have nothing but admiration.
And it made me want to see Part II immediately after! Come to think of it, if Lars wanted to, he could have made it a week long marathon and I would have forgone sleep to see it's conclusion! Bring me buckets of espresso and bags of sugar! I ain't goin' anywhere.........
To me, this was the production that made Lars von Trier stand out as an
extraordinary movie director and the movie, that finally pushed the
movie scene in the right direction!
It sort of founded the modern Danish dogma/dogme inspired movie style with its grainy colours, rash use of cutting and camera movement as well as strange, yet very realistic acting. All used to develop the perfect atmosphere around a good horror movie! There is just one thing you must remember when watching Riget/The Kingdom. It is a movie. It is entertainment. It is no comedy, yet nothing in the movie is serious. It uses sick and sometimes just weird ways of building up the horror. It doesn't have to make sense.
A lot of people may not like this because it is typically Danish, which may easily frustrate anyone who is only used to high budget Hollywood movies. The not-so-obvious deeper meaning between the lines as well as all the bold and underlined lines that have no meaning at all could confuse certain minds, but if you are prepared for a bunch of self-irony and sweet horror scenes, and if you like writers/directors such as David Lynch and Chris Carter, you are going to love this!
It is nice to see that mentally freaked out horror movies didn't die out with The Exorcist, and this definitely isn't any worse!
Lars Von Trier perfects his dogme style with this fascinating Horror satire about a haunted, bizarre hospital. I watched both this and `The Kingdom II' back-to-back over one night and I must say the six hours just flew by. I've never had so much fun watching a television series before. Every thing was brilliant, the casting and sepia toned style helped give a reality of the situation and a labyrinthine theme to the hospital itself. All the actors were wonderful and totally believable. I hope they make more episodes soon; I'm hooked...
Acclaimed director Lars Von Trier came to Riget (The Kingdom) after the failure of his film Europa (1991) and some trouble with his personal life, weather these contrasting elements had anything to do with the set up of the story of the Kingdom is unknown, but it might explain the playfulness of the film. This was the first time that von Trier would use the documentary-style approach he continued in his Dogme film The Idiots (1998) and with this project it worked wonders at enriching the source material with a certain satire. We except straight away that these bizarre occurrences are actually happening in the largest hospital in Denmark (The Kingdom of the title) and we have no reason to doubt it. As well as visual style, the characterisation is also good, Von Trier and fellow writers Tomas Gíslason and Niels Vørsel understand that we need to be interested in the characters of a TV show if we are to follow them for the duration of the series, and the characters in The Kingdom are no exception. We have at the focus of the action Dr Helmer played by the late Ernst-Hugo Järegård, a Swede with a troubled past who despises the hospital and it's practices, his recurring catchphrase "Bloody Danes" is a memorable addition to the proceedings. But more importantly is the character of Mrs Drusse (Kirsten Rolffes), the Ms Marple type character who's strange visions of the ghostly young Mary set the ball rolling. All of the actors are perfectly cast and have a great time mixing the surreal horror with the more comedic moments. Having seen both series of the Kingdom, I would say that series two is much better, perhaps because by this time we have a better grasp on the characters, but that by no way means that series one isn't just as good, let's not forget just how important a stepping stone it is. With this one Von Trier and co-director Morten Arnfred created a modern TV masterpiece. 10/10
Von Trier's Riget is his playground. It's fun watching and you can
sense it was fun making. The cast all give top-notch performances,
which is rare if there is only money involved. The directing is
inspired and ambitious and best of all, it works, hand camera and all.
Riget is also a tour-de-force for Ernst-Hugo, a man who left my home town in his youth never to return. His cynical, out-of-his depth, partly incompetent and totally danophobic Swede Stig-Helmer is one of the funniest and best-played characters I've ever seen. He dominates every scene he's in, and his monologues on top of the hospital are priceless.
The rest of the cast do their best to overshine Jähregård, and they're not far behind. Krogshöj, Stig-Helmers nemesis, is really memorable, with a really unsettling gaze. Fru Drusse, played by Kirsten Rolffes, is another great character, utterly believable and also very funny. Then there's Bulder, Rigmor, the incompetent hospital director Moesgaard and his love-sick medical-student son, the mongoloid dish-washers, the elderly gentlemen of the secret society, and so on and so on.
The plot is a simple ghost hunt thing, nothing special. It's the quirks and the characters that move Riget forward. In four hours time, not a lot has happened on a larger scale, but you will still be sorting through all the details.
Riget is the concrete evidence that the Danish movie culture is superior to the Swedish. One can only hope we will ever produce something as great as this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I reached the end of this and I was almost shouting "No, no, no, NO! It cannot end here! There are too many unanswered questions! The engagement of the dishwashers? Mona's disappearance? Helmer's comeuppance? The "zombie"? Was Little Brother saved by his father? And what about the head???????" ARGH!! Then I read that at least two of the cast members had passed on and I have to say, I know it probably wouldn't be true to Lars von Trier's vision, but I would gladly look past replacement actors just to see the ending he had planned! Granted, it would be hard to find someone to play Helmer as the character deserves. Helmer, the doctor you love to hate! I think I have yet to see a more self-absorbed, oblivious, self-righteous character on screen! But, I could overlook a change in actors....I just have to know how it ends!
Actually, Bill Murray said it best in Tootsie: "This is one *nutty*
Try to imagine a Danish hybrid of Spielberg's "Poltergeist" and the George C. Scott black comedy "The Hospital", with hints of "Rosemary's Baby" and the camp humor of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" thrown in. A really bizarre trip, alternating between seriousness and biting humor, with crazy camera angles and sepia-colored cinematography.
Among other things, you'll be feted with a severed head as a valentine; an initiation ritual involving an onion and a sharp knife; seances in the geriatric ward; Haitian voodoo and zombies; girl-ghosts in elevator shafts; a pathologist who has a diseased liver transplanted into his own body; an administrator who hides under his desk to avoid greeting important guests; and a belligerent Swede who ends each episode by waving his fists in the air and shouting "DANISH SCUM!!" ...in other words, be sure your sense of humor and appreciation of the bizarre are intact when you rent this, and don't expect a dramatic masterpiece. (It is, after all, a soap opera)
I first saw riget at a local theater. What was amazing was that after more than for hours every one in the audience wanted to see more (at least after a short cigarette break). However, this highly entertaining work which was, as far as I know, produced for TV is not a horror series. This is neither th X-files nor has it anything to do with friday the 13th. Sure, there are some gothic elements but it is rather a romantic ghost story. To me, it is more astonishing how easily von Trier and his great writers manage to combine several different genres. First of all this is a hospital series, different strands, none of which you would see in emergency room. The different stories meet perfectly at a hilarious finale. The main character is a swedish doctor whose scream of despair ("Dänischer Abschaum" in German, something like Danish scum) is a main event in every episode. The description of the freemason-like organization of the doctors is as brilliant as the parody of scientific ambition represented by a doctor who does some extraordinary things with his liver. Watch it, it`s great fun, but don`t expect a horror movie. In my opinion this is the best of von Triers works, because it`s the least ambitious.
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