27 October 2012

A Royal Affair / En kongelig affære (Nikolaj Arcel, 2012, Denmark)

This film seems to have done well in Denmark and it seems poised to do well enough in America. I got the impression that it was going to get released here early in the spring. I got a sticker for checking in to this movie on my GetGlue app, which tells me that someone is actually pushing this movie. It's based on a true story, alledgedly one of the great stories of Danish history, according to the director, who also wrote the screenplay for the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

This film deals with the end of the Danish feudal system and the ultimate rise of the Enlightenment in Denmark. It seems that feudalism lasted longer in Denmark than in the rest of Europe. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard stars as the mad king Christian VII and Alicia Vikander stars as his wife, Queen Caroline. Both actors are relatively new here but give performances good enough that they're considered breakout performances. I particularly like Vikander as the queen. Mads Mikkelsen seems to be the number one actor in Denmark for the past several years. If you're like me, you've probably seen him in After the Wedding and Flame and Citron. If you aren't like me, you've probably seen him in Clash of the Titans and Casino Royale. In any event, he's at the center of the film as the Enlightenment oriented doctor beloved by both the king and queen, who have pretty much been estranged since they first met. In these days when the oligarchy is threatening centuries of progress, this film actually seems pretty relevant. I think we have this illusion that the forces in our world which enjoy wealth and power could somehow be checked for the greater good if the need and the will arose. This film argues that, at least in the short term, it's best not to underestimate them that has.

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