Very accomplished drama, not showy in it's execution but manages to create an authentic, bleak setting of utter desolation. A classic example of the natural landscape mirroring the psychological vulnerabilites pitted against the dominating harshness. All are prisoners in exile.. frozen tundra, their lives in stasis.
Prison life shown on a Norwegian island, Bastoy, this is a tale of youngsters struggling to control their tempers while interacting with abusive authority figures. Although covering very familiar territory, the setting does give it enough of a twist, and the entire story arc makes it worthwhile.
While this is a well-worn story with antecedents in literature and film, the setting in Norway and the quality of the film-making help the viewer understand that certain eternal questions are universal, especially those regarding authority, conformity, the legitimization of violence through state and/or religious sanction, etc. The story might actually have been better told without Stellan Skarsgård's star power.
Extremely sanitised prison flick where angelical inmates in mannequin mode typically struggle and rebel against an oppressive system ruled by a gang of jailers whose ethos is not entirely clear. Director Marius Holst is wary of adding strata and shading, fleeing from complex characterization, preferring to stick to the Americanized formula of a dull binary confrontation between good and evil.
A deeply affecting film, engaging in a truly gruesome reality inflicted upon children. The film grows to a crescendo, each action building off the last naturally. It is easy to become invested in the success of the main characters, their goals becoming yours. There are several scenes that provide a meaningful catharsis and many more that are gut-wrenchingly difficult. Worth every pain though. A very strong film.
D'après un fait divers authentique, une honnête réalisation norvégienne qui dénonce une situation pénitentiaire lourde et rigide, d'une relative inhumanité gestionnaire et comportementale, classique pour l'époque, avec un monolithique Stellan Skargsgard, égal à lui-même, c'est-à- dire immergé avec aisance et délectation dans un singulier rôle de vieille crapule hypocrite et faible... www.cinefiches.com
Almost a biopic, the b&w at the end confirms. If we watch a thousand Movies, this story happens in too many. Acting is great, setting is panoramic, So it might be near the top of films like it. We are Norway film fanatics, Other wonderful films are available. Juxtapose this with the Norwegian child murderer, wasn't that an island?
I'm surprised it wasn't made in Hollywood. It has all the hallmarks. A one-dimensional evil guy. A tough kid with a heart of gold. The evil schoolmaster. The sacrifice of the victim. And most important, that 'based on a true story' is only minimally true. It's just your typical melodrama.