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Reviews & Ratings for
Devil's Island More at IMDbPro »Djöflaeyjan (original title)

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: Örn Arnarson ( from Reykjavík, Iceland
13 August 2001

I have to disagree with the user that commented on the movie above me. You might think that this is my opinion as an Icelander, but this is truly my honest opinion from a motion picture point of view.

This story probably captures Icelandic viewers born from 1900 - 1950 even better than the rest, since they might remember this peculiar scenario, where the poor people of the country lived in US/UK military cabins. This story realistically describes life in those days if you had little financial capabilities and lived in Iceland, which took a big leap in that time frame in regards of technology and thinking. Actors put on quite a show, and the characters are of such variations that almost everyone can relate to some of them, whether if it's yourself or somebody you know.

I don't know why the other critic claimed that he didn't care whether the characters lived or died, but it seems to me that he wasn't really paying attention to the movie. I don't know if it's because it's mainly in Icelandic, or because of another reason (maybe not subtitled), but I recommend this movie to anyone who likes good movies that are not typical Hollywood movies.


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

See a different film

Author: ( from Oslo, Norway
24 March 2001

See this film. It is well-filmed, spoken in a funny language, and simply catches you from the beginning to the end. See how the American Dream is dreamt in a desolate place under different circumstances. All filming perspectives here are pieces of art.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

dark yet entertaining

Author: Angry Monkey from Chicago, IL
27 May 1999

Alright so I may be biased since I played "Dick" in the movie (2 lines, Woo Hoo!!) but I definitely liked it. Although the characters sometimes seemed like caricatures you have to remember that they were trying to distill an entire nation's attitudes down into a few people. The movie is not exactly uplifting but it is well done. The acting is quality and Fridrik Thor's directing is on par with his Oscar nominated "Children of Nature."

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An unique film with tragedies, comics, and philosophy

Author: yokolino from Sweden
24 May 2003

Poor families In the barrack district in Reykjavik in 50's. Mother who gets married and moves to America leaving her children. Grown-up boy sticking around with his gang and violence. His younger brother with bad self-confidence and the tragedy, which wakes up his wild brother to consider of his own life. The film is full of tragedies, miserable and disparate people. But, so amazing, the film ends peacefully with "Charles Chaplin" and the opera singing boy. This ending doesn't however let the audiences forget what happened with the family before, and even though, you get hope of bright future of the family. Very unique film with any possible elements of life. The Icelandic language spies the film too with its beautiful sounds.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

Author: þorsteinn þráinsson from Iceland
17 January 2006

This movie is really good. At least it's better than the book although many people would disagree with me there. To enjoy this film more than some have been doing you'll have to know what situation the people are in. The movie is based on the Icelandic lives at that time. I think it's a great movie but not the best Icelandic movie i've seen.

If I would see some film that is identical to this one from another country with another culture I would not enjoy it as much. For example if there were a movie about someone in Britain and I would not know the situation the people would be in I wouldn't understand the story in the film.

I recommend to everybody who can read the book to read it before or after you see this film. In the book you can see the storyline much better and you'll know why this is a really good movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

modern family saga

Author: El_Sordo from Berlin, Germany
3 December 2005

I saw this movie in a university class. First, I felt it was somewhat loose in storyline and editing, and it took me a while to get me into the story. but then I got accustomed with the characters and was fine after all.

The story is about a family that lives in some come-down US-barrack-shelters in the early 1950ies. It covers a couple of years of time. It's built up like a classic Icelandic saga - about a family in Iceland, with one character, Baddi that is, in the middle, and the problems Baddi causes. But that might also make the story a bit boring.

Characters are odd and funny. Cinematography is excellent. If you like Scandinavian cinema and and story lines you can't predict, this is a movie you should watch.

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I love it

Author: esighs from Iceland
31 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say that I was never a big fan of Icelandic movies.. I always thought the acting was kinda fake and I was never really that much into them. But one day I got the movie Djöflaeyjan and I was kinda reluctant to watch it but since I didn't have anything better to do I put it in and in a few moments I was caught in it... The part where Danni dies and you see the grandfathers eyes is the saddest and the best scene for me that involves death in a movie. You don't always have to see people falling down with grief and screaming.. his empty sad stare where you see his eyes full of tears is the best acting I have seen in a long time. I watched it again yesterday and it still is as good as the day I saw it first. I hope you give it a chance it really is worth it.

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an excellent film

Author: 6zimdog6 from Nova Scotia, Canada
28 November 2004

A very dark comedy dealing with people living in abandoned US barracks in Iceland. The characters apparently were based on real people but really, they could be characters that we know in our own parts of the world, making the point that we are all part of the human race with our foibles and idiosyncrasies. Yes, it was in the Icelandic language; yes, you likely had to read sub-titles. But for anyone interested in serious film, this would be no hindrance. This film puts to shame the overwhelming majority of films made in the USA these days which seem to be dumbing down even more each year. This is a film about life, covering a wide range from comedy to tragedy, but always thought-provoking and involving.

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A great Icelandic film

Author: Christine (Thaaddios) from Minneapolis, USA
19 October 2001

This movie is a good, 'gritty' film, about a lower class family going through major cultural shock. Chances are you don't speak icelandic (I don't) but subtitled it flowed very well. It's not hollywood like, it goes a bit slower than your average film, but they use that time to develop the characters and to get you emotionally involved.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not as good as Cold Fever, Baddi worse than bad

Author: Buckywunder from Seattle, WA
11 February 2001

I go out of my way to view foreign/independent film (I know, we're a vanishing breed) and rented this video at a neighborhood store that has a pretty good foreign selection mostly on the power of having seen COLD FEVER, which I enjoyed.

While I appreciate "dark comedies" as much as the next person -- and am a huge fan of Aki Kurasmaki (so I have some familiarity of Scandinavian film sensibility) -- it was a mistake to have placed so much of the film's success around a character as thoroughly unlikable as Baddi.

While he dominates the screen with charmless, witless and appalling behavior that knows no bounds (premised on his contact with "America"), most of the other characters are used as props and are nobly antithetical, i.e., they have a conscience. But for the most part, as a whole they cannot counterbalance the effect that the Baddi character has on the film.

That is a shame because there appeared to be some good potential character driven aspects to the story that were wasted.

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