A ROYAL AFFAIR
(directed by Nikolaj Arcel, 2012)
****+ (out of 5)
> Lars Von Trier helped bring this lush, romantic historical drama to the screen, and what a strong, powerful bit of filmmaking it is! The sweep of European history has rarely been so compellingly encapsulated in a single film. I was entranced by the richness of this movie, hanging on to savor every moment.
. It’s the story of a German expat doctor who comes to Denmark to treat the king, who appears to suffer from mental issues stemming from the stress of office. They bond so thoroughly that the outsider eventually rises to be de facto king, ushering in the new age we now call “the Enlightenment”. One little catch: the German and the queen have fallen passionately in love, and begun a dangerous, illicit affair that ever teeters on disaster, as they grow bolder and bolder in expressing their passions. We can see the slow-motion train wreck a’comin’. It’s that kind of film where you like the doomed lovers so much, you want to reach up and seize them from the screen and bring them into the audience with you, so they will have the detachment to see where their secret tryst is leading them. Worse- the radiant queen is pregnant, and the King hasn’t visited her chambers in a long, long time…
. These actors are wonderful. Winsome Alicia Vikander is absolutely stunning as the ripe, delicious queen, and fine international actor Mads Mikklesen is compelling to watch in every beautifully articulated frame. His character is warned: As an outsider grown too close to the inner circles of power, the German is distrusted and disliked- and rumors are circulating. It is only a matter of time until these nasty whispers reach the king, but the twin gravitational pulls of power and passion blind him to the tragedy on his horizon.
. Every ingredient here contributes to a sumptuous feast: the gorgeous period costumes, the rich, evocative score that bathes the film in romance, the lush natural and opulent manmade settings, the suburb screen acting, the first-rate art direction that includes a remarkable recreation of 18th century Denmark in telling detail. Nikolaj Arcel has made a truly stunning film. A ROYAL AFFAIR is a royal feast of a movie.
> Film lover? History buff? Romantic? See it! You will be enchanted.
* * *
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.