The Promised Land

The Promised Land presents itself as an epic period drama about a former soldier, Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen of Casino Royale and Another Round), dedicating his remaining lifetime to mend a troubled Danish heath and build a settlement.  The challenges he faces include the environmental barrenness of the land, outsiders who doubt Kahlen’s ambitions, and the breaching interruptions by selfish and wealthy Frederik de Schinkel (Simon Bennebjerg).

For all of its lavish details – including attractive cinematography, costuming, and art direction – and a dependable central performance by character actor Mikkelsen, The Promised Land boils down to very basic motivations made by simple characters.  This makes the viewer suspicious of the pacing and the prioritizing, suggesting that a more streamlined version – perhaps slimming the film down by 20 minutes and reinforcing the ending – may have been a more efficient way to encompass years of effort while avoiding scenes of redundant repetition.

Nevertheless, director/co-writer Nikolaj Arcel (reuniting with Mikkelsen after 2013’s A Royal Affair) has made a mostly intriguing, fairly thrilling, drama about the sweat and tears that goes into building a legacy.


Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.