'King of Devil's Island' (2012) review: Stellan Skarsgård provides a strong autoritative figure while the boys do the heavy lifting (lol)
Synopsis: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?
Released on Blu-ray & DVD on the 29th October, King od Devil's Island stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Avengers) and rising star Benjamin Helstad (Baby Troopers, Angel) in this true-story-adaptation of a boys' correctional centre in Norway.
Thanks to a special early-access copy from the lovely folks at abundant, I was able to get a look at the film prior to it's home entertainment release.
Knowing virtually nothing about the film(other than Skarsgård was in it), I was unprepared for what followed.
The story follows the events that occurred in 1915 at Bastøy, and is focused on a young man, Erling(or his 'assigned' name, 'C19'), who is a new addition to Bastøy Boys' Home, and is quickly singled out by many of his peers and administrators, with the exception of the barracks' head boy, Olav(played by Trond Nilssen) and Ivar(Magnus Langlete). These two boys soon realise C19 isn't as bad as he's made out to be, as they soon grow to respect each other.
Fast forward a little, and the boy have suffered a loss as a result of some malpractice at the hands of a somewhat crooked administrator. The boys ain't happy about what this administrator did. Shit, no. In fact, they're enraged. Enraged to the point that they rise up against their superiors. Chaos ensues, and the boys of Bastøy soon realise that though they can stand in the face of adversity, adversity will shoot you down.
King of Devil's Island offers a valuable life lesson to bad children, as well as an entertaining and, at times, shocking insight into the practices that went on in Bastøy.
Though it takes some time picking up the pace and stuggles with a few performance issues from some of the younger cast the finale is what completely makes the hour-and-fifty minute story a whole lote worthwhile.