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Movie: The Last King

Short version: A true story, it's Game of Thrones on wooden skis (but with no dragons, less sex, and more blondes). Highly recommended - see it!!!

Longer version: Wow, I loved this film! A 2016, award-winning historical epic from Norway, it's a tale of medieval royal scheming and treachery around the succession of Norway's royal line, and the heroic and dramatic efforts to save the toddler who represents the last living heir to the throne (the bad guys want to kill the kid, the good guys want to save him).

It's got a simple story, but big drama, big thrills, big mountains, endless chases, a lot of axe- and sword-fighting, spectacular scenery, Northern Lights, lots and lots of snow, and zero CGI effects (everything shot out in the elements). There are incredible looong shots of guys on old wooden skis, fighting, shooting arrows, swinging axes, and general amazing mayhem all while zooming down, through and back up stunningly beautiful snow-covered mountainsides at high speed. The skiing sequences were breathtaking, the scenery and cinematography is jaw-dropping. It will definitely make you want to visit Norway (it may also make you want to break out your old wooden cross country skis!).

There's a lot of chasing, a good bit of fighting, not excessively brutal or terribly grisly by today's standards, not a lot of "splatter" (if you know what I mean). Still, probably not appropriate for young kids (there's definitely some head-smashing and a bit of blood).

It's got larger-than life heros (including Kristofer Hivju, a Norwegian actor many will recognize from a prominent role as one of the leading "wildings" in Game of Thrones). As Hivju said in an interview (with a twinkle in his eye): "It's beautifully shot in the most beautiful parts of Norway. We have the huge mountains, we have the northern lights, we have a lot of people with big beards on skis, all trying to kill each other...what else do you need?" 'Nuff said!

You'll want to throw a couple big birch logs on the fire, pull up a warm comforter, maybe break out the lutefisk (nah), and start thinking about flights to Lillehammer. It definitely roused my inner Norse gods and probably will do the same for you. Uff da!!!

Posted by
6915 posts

Thanks David, it sounds wonderful. I put it on hold at my library and can't wait to get it.

Posted by
3041 posts

@David-we watched this movie on Netflix last night. My Norwegian husband really liked it. I enjoyed the skiing sequences, but felt it could have used more information about what was happening politically at that time. Thanks for the recommendation!

Posted by
6411 posts

Yeah, I was fairly clueless about the political context (the movie was made for Norwegian audiences, whom I'd expect had a better grasp of their history than most of us do), so I'll try to briefly summarize:

It was the 13th Century, so all sorts on nonsense went on that modern folks would never put up with. Somebody who was not king wanted to be king, and they allied with other bad guys, including the always evil Catholic Church, to conspire against the rightful toddler-king. Some people were bad, most people just wanted to be left alone to stay in their warm homes when it's snowing outside. Despite the cold, everybody went skiing a lot, and it turns out they were really good at that. Many fights broke out. The End.

Hell of a way to choose who runs your government, but who am I to judge? My Norwegian grandmother would be proud (but she would still scowl at me just on principle). Skoal!

Posted by
1515 posts

I just signed it out in DVD format from the public library that I work at. If we have it, I'm sure most other libraries do as well.