King of Devil's Island
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This true story of the infamous Bastøy Boys Home correctional facility in Norway, begins with the arrival of seventeen-year-old Erling, a rumored murderer. He immediately clashes with the island facility's governor (Stellan Skarsgård), who believes manual labor, rigid discipline, and harsh punishment are the only methods that can turn the boys into honorable members of society. Refusing to accept the constant abuse, Erling slowly rouses the rest of the boys out of their resigned existence, and encourages them to fight to lift up their spirits. When tragedy finally falls at the hand of the… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Rather one-note in its bleakness, and doesn't have a vast amount to say beyond 'reform school sucks'."
‑ Tom Huddleston, Time Out
"[An] austere and occasionally stirring yarn."
‑ Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
"It's a very measured account of how men will accept their fates to a degree, slowly coil up and then spring with anger."
‑ Graham Young, Birmingham Post
"There's an impressive force to the performances and, amid the ice and snow, the film burns with a sense of injustice that deservedly made it a hit in Norway."
‑ Jason Solomons, Observer [UK]
"A slow-burning film with echoes of Papillon in its celebration of an indomitable human spirit."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"Possibly no one else does "grim" with as much unsparing enthusiasm as the Scandinavians."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"The film plays well, and is involving, but in one form or another, this is a story often told."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A slow-burning but satisfying drama that persuasively blends elements of Scum and Papillon."
‑ Allan Hunter, The List
"Very good but very heavy; the film's chilly, snow-blasted environs accurately reflect the tale's dour tone."
‑ Jim Schembri, 3AW
"Robust acting and crisp direction eases the old-rope material through to the inevitable conflagration."
‑ Xan Brooks, Guardian [UK]
"Skarsgard is riveting throughout as a man whose high morality is steeped in hypocrisy and whose mask of civility easily slips, when challenged, to reveal the monster beneath."
‑ Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
""King of Devil's Island" is surprisingly effective, and affecting, given the familiarity of its material."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"The acting is superb and director Marius Holst's embellishment of the facts keeps your attention throughout."
‑ Alex Zane, Sun Online
"Based on a true story, there is a dramatic force here, even if the whole is a trifle long and repetitive."
‑ , This is London
"beneath the staid, ordered, colour-dulled surfaces of Marius Holst's King of Devil's Island lurk various forms of hypocrisy, corruption and abuse, suggesting something very rotten in the (then) state of Norway."
‑ Anton Bitel, Little White Lies
More reviews for King of Devil's Island on Rotten Tomatoes