The King's Choice
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Chronicling the nerve-racking days before and after the Norwegian monarch King Haakon VII (Jesper Christiansen) made the decision to resist the invading German army during WWII, Eric Poppe’s (Hawaii, Oslo) exceedingly well-acted drama was short-listed for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar earlier this year. Threatening to abdicate if the government chose cooperation, the King advocated all-out resistance, placing himself and his family in great danger, and guaranteeing his place in the annals of Norwegian history.
Classical filmmaking at its finest, The King’s Choice is full of perfectly composed and acted set pieces—some of the larger battle scenes have real power, and the work of Christiansen, best known to North American audiences for playing the sinister Mr. White in three recent James Bond films, is subtle and quietly heroic. These fine attributes are a result of choices made by director Poppe, of course. The only director to have won the Norwegian Film Critics’ Award for Best Feature three times, Poppe started his career as a war photographer before moving on to cinematography and then directing, and his experience shows in the way he shoots the tense, intimate moments when decisions that will affect thousands of lives are being made. His clarity and impressive attention to detail make this affecting drama a story for the ages.
"[The film] benefits from excellent cinematography by John Christian Rosenlund… [and] retrieves a part of the past that deserves to be remembered."—Stephan Farber, Hollywood Reporter
Audience Award, Edinburgh 17