A grandfather plays hide and seek with his grandchildren in the snow. This simple autumn pleasure will soon turn into a winter of discontent as the grandfather faces the future of a war with Germany.
THE KING’S CHOICE is based on the true story about the three dramatic days in April of 1940, when the King of Norway is presented with the monstrous ultimatum from the Germans: surrender or die.
Erik Poppe’s picture is a slow burn affair, building a calm before the storm so exquisitely that the mounting tension is almost taken for normal until sudden and seismic action comes crashing down.
The hypocrisy of Hitler’s hideous hegemony is highlighted as German ambassador to Norway, Curt Braeuer, desperately tries to find a diplomatic solution to the King’s dilemma – submit sovereignty or assign bloody war to his subjects. It is a duplicitous gambit on behalf of the militaristic territory grabbing Reich, a regime that is quite prepared to use their envoy as a decoy.
Surrounding this central drama, there is the concurrent story of the ineffectual Prime Minister who desperately wants to leave his position and his responsibility.
The opening scene is mirrored, although transformed from playfulness to lethal pursuit as a game of hide and seek between the Nazis and the Royal Family ensues.
With German Air Force and soldiers hunting them down, the royal family is forced to flee from the capital. They decide to go separate ways, not knowing if they’ll ever see each other again. While Crown Princess Maertha leaves Norway with the children to seek refuge in Sweden, King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav stay on to fight the Germans, and bicker amongst themselves about how they should proceed.
THE KING’S CHOICE is a spell binding film of human eminence over dry historical fact.
Jesper Christensen is quietly majestic as the beleaguered monarch, and Anders Baasmo Christiansen is equally absorbing as his son, bridling under the perceived slowness of his father to act.
Karl Markovics as Curt Brauer finely conveys the frustrations of a man whose desperate diplomacy dents his domestic life, a man in crisis due to his conflict between patriotic duty and despotic expansionism.
A terrifically tiered and textured film, THE KING’S CHOICE is a back room view of brutish bureaucracy and a benevolent monarch forced to choose on life and death matters as dictated by a madman.