Run time: 127 mins
Mads Mikkelsen grows potatoes when the chips are down in a rip-roaring historical drama.
Mikkelsen plays Ludvig Kahlen, a highly decorated captain in mid-18th-century Denmark. He proposes to cultivate the barren Jutland heath and start a settlement there, a potentially lucrative project dear to the King. The Royal Treasury scoff at the idea of pouring more money into what they see as a lost cause, but Ludvwig offers to finance the venture with his soldier’s pension, asking for a noble title and an estate with servants in return.
It’s a solid plan, and would proceed steadily enough if not for the envy of neighbouring nobleman Frederik De Schinkel (Simon Bjenneberg) , a petty local who insists that the land belongs to him, and goes to great lengths to make it difficult for Ludwig.
Enter a young couple in Johannes (Morten Hee Andersen) and Ann (Amanda Collin), who have escaped De Schinkel’s cruelty; Ludvig agrees to provide them with work and shelter, despite the legal risk. While The Promised Land sounds more subdued than the original Danish title, Bastarden, there’s nothing tame or prosaic about A Royal Affair director Nikolaj Arcel’s brawny epic.