'The Promised Land' (TIFF review)
Mads Mikkelsen reteams with A Royal Affair director Nikolaj Arcel for the gripping 18th-century drama 'The Promised Land'.
Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen) is the bastard son of a nobleman and his maid. As many were at those times, he is sent to the army so his father doesn't have to deal with him.
Against all odds, he works himself up to become a general. And after a long career in the army, he gets the idea to cultivate the Danish heath. Tried and failed by many, nobody believes he can do it. But for them, there's no harm in Ludvig trying.
The only person really against the plan is the extremely wealthy Frederik de Schinkel, who claims to be the owner of the land. A man no one dares to question. Clearly, and often displayed by De Schinkel, Ludvig is lower in status. So low in fact, it seems not even worth trying to take on De Schinkel.
But Ludvig Kahlen is a man of conviction. And he has a lot of it. Not only by working the land for years with any help only being there sporadically. But also taking on De Schinkel, a formidable nemesis (played brilliantly by Simon Bennebjerg) who can match the best villains on the silver screen.
'The Promised Land' is a Danish period piece that shies away from the clichés and brings a cast and crew that can compete with similar Hollywood dramas. That's not only because of the always captivating Mads Mikkelsen, but also because of the genuinely interesting story in Danish history.
It's another one of Mikkelsen's films that should do well in arthouse cinemas around the world this winter. And maybe even take a shot at some awards.
'The Promised Land' screened at #TIFF23 and will be released in Denmark on October 5th.