Kongens nei (2016) Poster

(2016)

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9/10
Solid about defining choices and moment for Norwegian history
OJT23 September 2016
Erik Poppe's history depiction "The King's Choice" (original title "Kongens nei") is about the Norwegian royal King and governments reaction to being invaded by Hitler-Germany on the 9th of April 1940.

Erik Poppe has made the brilliant "Trouled water", "Hawaii Oslo", "Schpaaa" and "A thousand times good night", but has outdone himself here, maybe only equaled by "Troubled water". The script is based upon the history telling book by Roy Jacobsen, and is written by Norwegian novelist and re-known script writer Harald Rosenløw-Eeg.

The film depicts what happened in the of the most defining days of the Norwegian democracy, where the Danish born king, after 35 years after being chosen as the King of Norway after his arrival in 1905, when Norway decided to become a kingdom. We also follow the Norwegian government, and how the military reacted to the shock of being invaded by the Third Reich power.

I must say that this film simply could not be depicted more correctly. Except for the King and the Crown prince actually was driven in a newer DeSoto, which only war nerds and aficionados would know, this is painstakingly accurate.

The film is no action movie, but a historic drama, and as such it fulfills my expectations as the best Norwefian war movie to date. Though the film has some action filled sequences, the main thing is the choices that has to be made which defines this drama. And not only the King's choice, but also the when fie was to be called against the war ships and the German troops in their chase of the king. The troubled government which not at all were able to show the same determination as the king, and so on. Many difficult choices.

The film isn't at all afraid of dwelling at these choices, and this makes my day. The film making is really heartfelt, and the instruction of the actors are superb. Danish actor Jesper Christensen is simply jaw-dropping in his role as King Haakon the 7th, and Anders Baasmo Christensen isn't far behind in his role as Crown Prince Olav. However, Austian actor Karl Markovics is simply stunning as Kurt Bräuer. And I could go on. Many great roles! Poppe is a criminally great instructor and director.

And it would have been a catastrophe of epic proportions if this film had taken short cuts. Thank God they didn't. The film is not only accurate and defining history telling, it's also a mile stone in Norwegian cinema and film history.
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8/10
All for Norway
Claudio Carvalho8 January 2017
"Kongens nei', a.k.a. "The King's choice", is a dramatic film that depicts how the Norwegian King Haakon VII (Jesper Christensen) decided the participation of Norway in the World War II immediately after the unexpected German invasion on 09 April 1940. This important historic event is unknown for most of the people around the world what makes this film unique. The screenplay follows the royal family from the eve of the German invasion until the moment they flee to outside the Norwegian border and seems to be very accurate. The great direction and performances associated to an excellent screenplay gives the sensation of a documentary. My vote is eight.

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8/10
Leaves you wanting more.
peefyn27 September 2016
My main feeling after seeing this movie, which covers the first few days of the second world war in Norway, is that I would like to see the movie continue all the way through the war.

While the performances are all great, and the locations used, the costumes, the recreations of Oslo and the soundtrack all contributed into making this an excellent movie - the highlight was how this story was told and the movie cut together. If you don't like inter titles, you won't like this movie. Every scene is introduced with location, date and time. And it works. I didn't always pay much attention to it, but the moments it chooses all feel like real moments in the story, the important highlights of actions performed by the people involved.

I do appreciate that they also spread their focus a bit wider than just the royal family. The German diplomat was an interesting character, trying his best to get a handle on a terrible situation, and doing a good (though futile) job. The young men on the front line are portrayed in a way that really shows the horrors of war on an ultimately inexperienced crowd. But the main story here is that of the royal family, who is made to seem more human than any other depiction I have seen of them, including most documentaries. They are not people born into a stoic calm, but rather people born into a job that at its worst can be really difficult and pressing.

The critique of this movie is mostly about what it is not: a new perspective. Again, you follow the heroes of the war, the people we shouldn't forget (and haven't forgotten). While I completely agree with the people wanting something new, this has little to do with this movie.
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10/10
Gripping WW II drama --The aged king of Norway faces the Germans down without a flinch.
alexdeleonfilm23 February 2017
KONGENS NEI image1.jpeg Jesper Christensen, magnificent as Hakon VII in "The King's Choice" The Norwegian WWII epic called "The Kings Choice". (Kongens Nei) was viewed at the lavish Zoo Palace in Berlin during the 2017 Berlin film festival. This is a tremendous docu-drama of the category "They don't them like this Anymore" -- over two gripping hours long but focusing on just the four day period from April 8 to April 11, 1940 -- when the Germans invaded neutral Norway to seize the iron ore reserves and the long strategic coastline under the pretense that they were protecting Norway from a British invasion. The old actor who plays King Hakon VI as a devoted family man as well as a noble king was exceptional and arresting. (Jesper Christensesn, 68) . Suspense filled, almost an historical thriller. So well made that even if this is a relatively unknown corner of WW history it may go over at some international BOs just for the spectacle and scope.

A great picture in every respect. King Hakon VII already up in years, has to decide whether to agree to a Puppet Government under Norwegian traitor Quisling or refuse to accede to the German demands and bring the Norwegians into armed conflict with the overpowering invaders. After fleeing to the north one step ahead of the advancing Germans he agrees to meet the German envoy for a final attempt at a negotiated settlement to achieve a peaceful solution but feels it his royal duty to decline and enter into a brief hopeless war of resistance. The events of these critical days are followed almost hour by hour with inter-titles on screen to produce a documentary feel. This is a somewhat fictionalized account for dramatic effect, based, however completely on real, people and real events. "King's Choice" is a 2016 biographical war drama directed by Erik Poppe. A co-production between Norway and Ireland, and was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars 2017.
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An Engrossing Account Of A World War II Event That Many Aren't Aware Of
CinemaClown2 February 2017
An emotionally engrossing factual account that's brought to life with assured confidence & terrific restraint, The King's Choice (also known as Kongens nei) is an end product of extensive research, competent craftsmanship & skillful narration that brings yet another fascinating World War II event to cinematic life that many aren't aware of.

The story of The King's Choice takes place in Norway during the Second World War and follows the Norwegian King who's forced to make a difficult choice after his nation is invaded by Nazi Germany despite his country's neutral position in the war and has to decide whether to continue fighting the Germans or surrender, a decision that will shape Norway's future.

Directed by Eric Poppe, the film opens with a montage that provides a brief overview of Norway's elected monarch and his role in governing the nation, following which it jumps to 1940 and moves ahead from there. Poppe's direction is brilliant for the most part, as he is able to keep the interest alive and delivers some thrilling moments of chaos & destruction that war brings with itself.

There are only a couple or more battle sequences but all of it is thoroughly riveting & expertly shot. The drama is compelling, the tension is palpable, and its characters are interesting to some extent but there are still a few moments when it indulges in trivial matters which take the focus away from what's relevant. Its 133 minutes narrative is steadily paced but it begins to lose steam after a while.

My favourite aspect, however, is the background score, for it is able to elevate & enrich the impact of many segments with its ingeniously composed & emotionally evocative tracks that are always in sync with the unfolding events. Camera-work is equally well-balanced, and the cast delivers strong performances throughout by playing their given roles with aptness & leave nothing to complain about.

On an overall scale, The King's Choice has its shares of positives & negatives but it manages to be a gripping experience for the most part. It doesn't hold back anything when it comes to capturing the visceral nature of war and is fabulously supported by a rousing score in those moments but it also lacks the same level of intensity in the dramatic portions at times and fails to hit as hard as it was capable of. Still, definitely worth a shot.
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10/10
A great personal drama
steinerikpaulsen7 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Kongens Nei is a great personal drama revolving around King Håkon VII, set to a historic backdrop of the opening days of the German invasion of Denmark and Norway. We also follow the German representative in Norway at the outbreak of the war - Curt Braüer - and his futile attempts of getting a negotiated peace. Both men have to adapt fast to a military reality neither was very well prepared for.

The movie does have some good war scenes - most notably Colonel Eriksen firering the heavy guns at Oscarsborg coastal fortress at the German heavy cruiser Blücher - but it is not an action movie. Most other war scenes are about fleeing by train and car and confused small scale battle in cold, snow and wood. Pretty accurate of what the war was like in Norway, where all parts had to cope with the weather and nature as much as with enemy soldiers.
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7/10
a gripping study of moral responsibility in leadership
CineMuseFilms24 August 2017
War history films look beyond battle to examine how things came to be. A fine example is the Norwegian bio-pic The King's Choice (2016). It tells the little-known story of the first three terrifying days when the Nazi war machine rolled into Norway and demanded that its ageing monarch surrender to the inevitable. Instead of the usual emphasis on military action, this film offers an extended essay on the moral responsibilities of leadership that is as relevant today as ever.

In April 1940, a fleet of German ships slips through Norwegian defences and issues an ultimatum: surrender or perish. Denmark had only recently capitulated to Germany but Norway's King Haakon VII (Jesper Christiansen) had no intention of following its example. Norway's traditional neutrality and antiquated military capacity made it seem defenceless, but it still managed to sink one warship which infuriated Hitler. A German envoy urged the King to accept a peaceful surrender and save Norwegian lives, but he refused to make it easy for the Nazis to take Norway. The Norwegian parliament was in disarray, nominally led by a Nazi-sympathiser with the surname Quisling, a word that universally has come to mean traitor. The nation was terrified and only the royal family was left as a symbol of hope and inspiration. Hitler was desperate to capture the family alive as a trophy for Nazi supremacy. The revered King and his heir apparent son fled to the countryside with Nazis in pursuit. Along the way, the envoy, his few remaining parliamentarians, and even his son, repeatedly urge the king to surrender. While Norway's collapse was inevitable, the royal family escaped to London where they led the Norwegian resistance for the remainder of the war.

There are several reasons why this film deserves praise. The most obvious is that it illuminates a piece of history that most people, except Norwegians, know very little about. It is a measured, sombre study of leadership with a competent cast, excellent cinematography, and detailed period sets and costumes. It provides a finely wrought portrait of a nation facing catastrophe using minimal dramatic embellishment yet with tension that rises over its long running time (two and a quarter hours). Jesper Christiansen plays King Haakon with regal authenticity as he goes from being a grandfather figure playing with children to a giant of integrity in the face of an extraordinary moral dilemma. The king's choice was his and his alone, and the film captures the enormous strain of knowing that Norway had no prospect of resisting the Nazi juggernaut yet believing that a nation's dignity should never be surrendered.

Despite its epic qualities there are some minor quibbles. Foreign language translations inevitably struggle with nuance and keeping up with dialogue is made more difficult when white sub-titles appear against white backgrounds, The film's pace would have benefited from more editing, less CGI and fewer scenes of the royal family in flight. But otherwise this is a gripping character-driven film that provides a fascinating glimpse into Norway's war history.

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7/10
All for Norway.
Reno Rangan14 April 2017
It is from the director of 'A Thousand Times Good Night'. This movie is like the Norwegian version of the Academy Awards winner 'The King's Speech'. Likewise, it was based on the real, that happened around the same timeline of the history, id est, the World War II. Except matching title, it was totally a different narrative. When the Germany was expecting a response to their demand, the Norway cabinet made most of the decisions and turned it down to remain independent country. But from all, a decision that made by the king is what this film was based on and how it changed the Norway's fate was depicted.

This film was sent to the 2017 Oscars, unfortunately it did not advance to the main event. They might have expected recognition similar to the British film. But I think both the films were good in their own way with the kind of story they told us that took place in the backdrop of the most terrible time of the recent human history. So having a similar title name justifies. It is a biopic, but the story was covered from different angles to reveal us what happened on the other side, including one of the young soldiers who fought in that war.

The story begins with the April 1940, while the Nazi army sailing towards Norway and after losing most of the cities to them, the people fled to safer places. That did not spare the Norwegian cabinet members, as well as the king Haakon VII and his family. In those hard times, he kept the nation united by respecting to how the government decided to deal with the situation.

But on one occasion, through a German diplomat with a one-time offer directly from Adolf Hitler leave the king to make the crucial decision for his nation and its people. That's the part of the film to define its title. So everything leads to that moment, how he reacts and what follows decides the Norway's fate to stand on what side of the ongoing war.

❝If I am the last card in the deck, so be it.❞

It's a well made film. Neither too violent nor avoided the war depictions to turn it more drama type. Everything had its share, including those war atmosphere for such budget was impressive. More like it was a running and chasing theme. But in the initial parts, there were too many timelines mentioned about what happened on when. Details like that are really good, though I felt it was too much to take on, especially for a foreign film.

Once the tale enters the mid section, looked all were in order and also got very interesting than before. In a cold country like Norway, in those situations you are like in a multifold trouble. I mean from the common man's perspective. An army is chasing you and harsh winter, surviving that is very challenging.

All the actors were great, but the king steals the show. If this was an American film that had taken place in America, then he would have won the Oscars. The fresh undertaking films on the World War II themes would never go fade away. So this is one of the best in that kind in the recent time. Except the opening, I did not have any trouble following it. Even the 130 minutes looked shortened. But I won't think everybody would feel the same way as I did. Like any WWII films, it is a must see, particularly to learn from the Norway's perspective of the war.

But this was depicted from the early stage of the war. And since it was majorly focused from the king's perspective, being a first king elected by his people, how he had faced it, following his crucial decision leads the way to the film's conclusion. If you are as war film fan, particularly the WWII, the actual best part begins henceforth which I'm hoping for a sequel to focus on. If you are not anticipating like the top WWII films you have seen, it can be picked for a watch. But anyway, I would recommend it.

7/10
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9/10
Tense and exciting
euroGary5 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"The King's Choice" supposedly centres on King Haakon VII of Norway during the first few days of the April 1940 Nazi invasion of his country, but it is actually about much more than just the monarch: we see the initial engagement between Norwegian and Nazi forces, the discussions of the weak and divided government, the escape from Oslo of the royal family, the conflict between the Nazi diplomatic and military arms, and we follow a teenage soldier as he experiences his first, horrifying taste of combat. Then - almost as an afterthought - we get to that choice: should the king order the end of resistance to the Nazi advance and also accept the new puppet government of Vidkun Quisling? The consequences if he refuses are potentially horrendous. (Super-spoiler: The film's original Norwegian title, "Kongens nei", is in English "The King's No"!)

This is a tremendously exciting film, with a real sense of pace and tension. There are enough battle scenes to keep fans of bullets and explosions happy, although for me the discussions between the characters are the best bits, even if some of them - such as exchanges between the king and his crown prince - are surely inventions of the writers. In the lead role, Danish actor (Haakon himself was from Denmark) Jesper Christensen gives an affecting performance as an elderly man who, after a lifetime of ceremonial leadership, also has to exercise the moral kind. Karl Markovics exudes an air of desperation as the German diplomatic envoy trying to avoid bloodshed, but for me the best actor of the film is Arthur Hakalahti as the young soldier who goes from smirking, tongue-tied teenager ("Hello... king") to battle-scarred veteran in just a few hours.

This was the best film, IMHO, of the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival and it is one I will definitely watch again.
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7/10
Everything for Norway
olastensson131 July 2017
It's about the most dramatic days in Norway 20th century history. 8-11 April 1940, the time of the German attack. Norwegian military is unprepared. The king, the government and the parliament leave Oslo.

The Germans want to negotiate after occupying main Norwegian cities. They turn directly to the king, trying to make it his decision to avoid more bloodshed. That's his decision. And there is an answer.

Jesper Christensen is tremendous as king Haakon, making the moral dilemma more complicated than it's described in the script. Much is really filmed theatre here, but you tend to forget it, when Christensen is on the screen. Which he is very much.
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