Cinema Review: The Last King | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, December 10th, 2023  

The Last King

Studio: Magnet
Directed by Nils Gaup

Jun 17, 2016 Web Exclusive
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The start of the 13th-Century finds Norway torn apart by a bloody civil war. After the king is murdered, the nation’s only hope for tranquility is a peaceful transition of power to the king’s newborn yet illegitimate son, Håkon Håkonsson. When royal schemers vying for power dispatch troops to murder the infant, two farmer-warriors risk their lives to protect the rightful heir and keep their country from plunging into unimaginable chaos.

Directed by Nils Gaup, The Last King is a sword and spear saga that never quite achieves the lethal sharpness it promises. Jakob Oftebro and Game of Throne’s Kristofer Hivju are capable enough as Håkonsson’s daring protectors, but it’s as if Gaup was either unwilling—or financially unable—to let them achieve their full ferocity. With plenty of opportunities for swordplay and battle, The Last King is instead a series of anti-climaxes sewn together by imagery of snow-covered trees. It’s fun at first to watch early-1200s swordsmen chase one another down mountains on skis, but after the third time Håkonsson’s bodyguards whisk him down the slopes with royal assassins in pursuit, the spectacle has long ceased to impress.

Especially for viewers unfamiliar with Norwegian history, The Last King could have been something really special—an opportunity to shed some light on a lesser-known period of the Scandinavian country’s history. At the very least, it could have been a fun 100-minute sword thriller set among snow-covered mountains. Unfortunately, The Last King is a mediocre adventure with some very pretty scenery.

Author rating: 5.5/10

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