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The Kingdom is the most technologically advanced hospital in Denmark, a gleaming bastion of medical science. A rash of uncanny occurrences, however, begins to weaken the staff's faith in science--a phantom ambulance pulls in every night, but disappears; voices echo in the elevator shaft; and a pregnant doctor's fetus seems to be developing much faster than is natural. At the goading of a spiritualist patient, some employees work to let supernatural forces rest.Written by
James Meek <email@example.com>
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.
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