Globe and Mail
Arcel and Jensen have created a callous-pocked film whose cold heart grows only after immense trials and tribulations.
In 18th century Denmark, Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen) — a proud, ambitious, but impoverished war hero — sets out to tame a vast, uninhabitable land on which seemingly nothing can grow. He seeks to start farming crops, build a colony in the name of the King, and gain a noble title for himself. This beautiful but forbidding area also happens to be under the rule of the merciless Frederik De Schinkel, a preening nobleman who realizes the threat Kahlen represents to his power. Struggling against the elements and local brigands, Kahlen is joined by a couple who have fled the clutches of the rapacious De Schinkel. As this group of misfits begins to build a small community in this inhospitable place, De Schinkel swears vengeance, and the confrontation between him and Kahlen promises to be as violent and intense as these two men.
Nominated, Venice International Film Festival
Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel
Mads Mikkelson, Amanda Collin, Gustav Lindh