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Based on a true story: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the island Bastoy, located in the Oslo fjord live a group of delinquent, young boys aged 11 to 18. The boys daily, sadistic regime is run by the guards and the principal who bestow both mental and physical abuse on them. Instead of the boys being straightened out with education they end up being used as cheap, manual labor. The boys attempt to survive by adapting to their inhumane conditions. One day a new boy, Erling (17), arrives with his own agenda; how to escape from the island. How far is he willing to go in order to get his freedom? Written by
So far the most expensive film to the production company 4 1/2. See more »
Where are you going now? Manager's galley boy.
Don't blame me that you broke the rules.
Was it easier for you to read me the rules than to tell the manager what Bråthen does with Ivar in the laundry room? Or the rules are like that too?
You promised me, you devil.
Or do you dare not say anything, now that you're about to get your signature?
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'Escape is only a fantasy here.' An Exceptional Film On Every Level
KING OF DEVIL'S ISLAND (Kongen av Bastøy) is an experience more than a film. It dares to take the viewer where all is black and white, emotionally and visually, and while the film is shot in color, the only moment of color in this dark, atmospherically eerie snow bound island boys prison is the occasional blood and fire that creates even more of an impact because of the bleak screen that serves as background for the story. Based on a true story by Mette M. Bølstad and Lars Saabye Christensen and adapted for the screen by Dennis Magnusson and Eric Schmid, the fine cast is directed by Marius Holst.
In 1915 on the island Bastøy, located in the Oslo fjord, live a group of delinquent, young boys aged 11 to 18 in the Bastøy Boys Reform School. The boys daily, sadistic regime is run by the guards and Governor Bestyreren (Stellan Skarsgård) who is stern but seemingly fair in his management of the reform school (his wife lives with him in an opulent manner). But the Housemaster, a smarmy pedophile names Master Bråthen (Kristoffer Joner), is cruel and malicious and bestows both mental and physical abuse on the boys: the boys are used for cheap manual labor rather than being schooled and 'corrected' to return to society. The boys attempt to survive by adapting to their inhumane conditions. One day a new 17 year old boy, Erling who is assigned the 'name' C19 (Benjamin Helstad), arrives with his own agenda: how to escape from the island. How far is he willing to go in order to get his freedom? There is a stalwart lad Ivar/C5 (Magnus Langlete) who is due for release and a rather frail lad Olav/C1 (Trond Nilssen) who falls victim to the Master: these lads are C19's colleagues. After a tragic incident takes place, Erling ends up forced into the destinies of the other boys by leading them into a violent uprising. Once the boys manage to take over Bastøy 150 government soldiers are sent in to restore order. How he maneuvers the escape fantasy brings a surprising ending to the story.
The acting is first rate from a fine group of young actors. The cinematography is by John Andreas Andersen and the haunting musical score is by Johan Söderqvist. In Norwegian with English subtitles. A moody, deeply moving work. Grady Harp, February 12
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