Wednesday, December 8, 2010

movie review - Royal Deceit a.k.a. Prince of Jutland

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

I came across this title rather randomly via Wikipedia. I'd been looking up historical dramas set during the dark ages, and found this one. It's a retelling of the story of Amled Prince of Jutland, the same story which William Shakespeare adapted for his play Hamlet. This movie filmed in 1994, is set during an indeterminate period, and features a very strong cast. With Christian Bale starring as Amled, and co-starring Helen Mirren, Gabriel Byrne, Brian Cox, Kate Beckinsale, Andi Serkis and a huge host of British character actors who pop up repeatedly in films as disparate as Snatch and Black Hawk Down.

The scenery is fantastic, and theirs no shortage of the things which make Shakespeare's adaption so wonderful. However you can tell, due to the way in which the Battle scene between Osmir and Lindsey was filmed, the the movie was made on a very small budget. Some historical inaccuracies exist of course but when you are dealing with the Migration period, and especially with semi mythical events in general, its not particularly distracting.

As I mentioned before it's difficult to know precisely when the film is set, a number of character are shown prominently wearing Thor's hammers pendants around their necks. These didn't become popular until Christianity was being adopted on the Continent, by which time it was already the official religion in England. So since the men of Lindsey are shown as being predominantly Pagan still, but the group with which they are at war, the men of Osmir declaim the actions of Amled as the work of the Devil. I'd say the film is set in the 600's or so.

It is to me, certainly a better telling of the story than any of the more recent ones. So if you haven't seen it, I'd recommend it to you if you have any interest in the time period, and are unhappy with some of the other adaptions of legends of that time, such as Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf...

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