King of Devil's Island (12A)


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The Independent Culture

The titular island is a boys' reform school off the coast of Norway which in reality is closer to a penal colony.

Based on a true place (Bastoy), Marius Holst's engrossing drama pits the institution's governor (Stellan Skarsgard) against two of his young charges, a longtime inmate (Trond Nilssen) and a newly arrived loner (Benjamin Helstad) who has only escape on his mind.

The grim, wind-whipped location could make your teeth chatter, while the regime's abuses, abetted by the governor's divide-and-rule strategy, should make the blood boil. Skarsgard measures out a potent dose of manipulative wickedness, while Helstad does good work as the thorn in his side.