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
At the time, this was the most expensive Norwegian film ever made. See more »
The movie grossly exaggerates the size of the lead ship of the Norwegian Navy at the time.
As the boys are trying to escape the island, at about 1 hour 34 minutes, the Battleship "Norge" appears in the fog. The "Norge" was a small 300 ft pre-dreadnought - significantly smaller than modern day Frigate. If one assumes that the men seen on deck, are about 1.7 meters tall, the ship in the movie is more than 3 times as large as the actual "Norge" - comparable to a modern day Aircraft Carrier. See more »
When religious chastity and austerity were considered as a correctional measure...
Based on true events, this one of the most expensive Norwegian (+Swedish, Estonian) film was shot primarily in my home country - thus, apart from a good film experience, I had a joy of recognition vis-a-vis places and actors (although Estonian ones had mute or 1-2 word roles only). Anyway, the Norwegian background and spirit with gloom and misery in a closed penal institution were well captured, and all the leading characters were skillfully elaborated and performed (especially Stellan Skarsgård as Håkon, Benjamin Helstad as Erling "C19", Trond Nilssen as Olav "C1"). Most of the screenplay is focused, however, on the "normal" routine in the establishment, boys versus staff, the rebellion itself and its consequences are shown in a limited time and space (I would have liked to know what happened to the revolting boys, and how the usual living was restored).
Nevertheless, Kongen av Bastøy is a strong drama, giving food for thought long after the credits disappear.
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