the king's choice
DIRECTORs: Erik Poppe (hawaii, oslo, troubled waters, 1,000 times good night)
STARRING: jesper christensen, karl markovics, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, and Katharina Schuttler
REVIEWER: Lyall carter
The German war machine arrives in Oslo in April 1940, leaving Norway's king with a difficult choice that will change his country forever.
A slice of history that is relatively unknown to the wider world, The King's Choice is a taut, political drama that although a little flabby around the edges making it feel a little drawn out, it is anchored by incredible performances from Jesper Christensen and Karl Markovics.
As Germany invade Norway under the guise of protecting it from Britain, the King, his family, and the entire Norwegian government must go on the run to escape the ever advancing Nazi's. As an ambitious Norwegian politician who is close to the Germans performs a coup d'etat, the pressure is applied even further with Hitler demanding his foreign representative to negotiate only with the King.
As I've mentioned above, the story feels a little drawn out with some quite unnecessary and long winded political exposition. The constant times and dates that pop up on the screen and the seemingly continual hand held camera cinematography distract from the story the film makers are attempting to tell.
That being said The King's Choice is an engaging political drama with the horror of the invading German force as young soldiers who are outgunned and outmanned must stand their ground and families are torn apart painted vividly before you.
But what makes The King's Choice stand out from the crowd are the performances of Jesper Christensen (The King) and Karl Markovics (Brauer, the German foreign representative in Norway). They are utterly superb strewn with angry defiance, heart stopping fear, and the willingness to do what is right no matter the cost. The scene between the two as the negotiate Norway's surrender is filled with so much tension and contained intensity that you cannot help but sit up, take notice, and be riveted to the screen.
A little flabby around the edges, The King's Choice is still a taut, political drama with stunning performances from Christensen and Markovics.