Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary
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This film failed miserably. It couldn't capture the viewer's attention at all. I won't say I'm disappointed, as I have already watched a more hyped Norwegian piece ("The King's Choice") and didn't like it either. But "Birkebeinerne" is certainly a misadventure. Unlike European films in general, it is very formulaic and predictable, expect for a couple of moments. The background real story itself isn't attracting. The Norwegian civil war was pretty much limited to skirmishes, so any film on this topic betting on "axes and blood" would fail, because there isn't really much raw material. So, one'd think the director concentrated his efforts on the palace intrigue, the dynastic feuds. On the contrary. The plot's greatest potentiality was miserably neglected, as the director dedicated 90% of the running time to the baby's journey and the 10-20 men "battles". The major villains only starred briefly, and their dialogues were always flat and cheesy. Princess Christina, the chancellor, the imprisoned brother Inge, the "Norwegian Colonel Tavington", Egil and his sister -all these characters were nothing more than woodsticks designed to fill big plot holes the director didn't care to assess. Even the two loyal fellows who were on screen the whole time weren't convincing enough. It was particularly sad when they presented the young king at the viking-styled party; those bucholic men were persuaded to take part in a highly dangerous task just like they'd be persuaded to go to a summer camp. They weren't offered any incentive or reward or anything. I expected a powerful speech, at least. The final part was severely unrealistic. Mr. Tavington could've killed little Haakon as soon he approached him, but he chose to calmly check it. And then he was grabbed into a fight by our good hero, who seems to be rather invencible (hit by an arrow in the shoulder just some minutes before, Skjervald managed to resist the better equipped Bagler). In general, this film has some cool effects, but that's pretty much all its merit.
Directors: Nils Gaup, Ravn Lanesskog,
Production: Newgrange Pictures, Nordisk Film Production, Paradox Film 3
In the year 1206 Norway is raged by civil war. The King's illegitimate infant son, Håkon Håkonsson, which half the kingdom wants killed off, is guarded in secrecy by two men. A story which changed the course of the country's history.