Lars von Trier’s Darkplace

- Will Salmon

UK MUBI, streaming now

Creator Lars von Trier

Cast Bodil Jørgensen, Nicolas Bro,

Mikael Persbrandt, Lars Mikkelsen, Tuva Novotny

EPISODES 3.01-3.05 How much does Lars von Trier love Twin Peaks? Going by Kingdom: Exodus, the answer is a lot. Just as the first two seasons of his cult supernatur­al hospital drama owed an acknowledg­ed debt to Lynch and Frost’s masterpiec­e, this belated third run (25 years later, of course) feels like a companion piece to The Return.

The Kingdom hospital is built on top of Copenhagen’s old bleaching ponds, a superstiti­ous, fog-shrouded realm. It was meant to be a place of science and rationalit­y, but the cracks are starting to show. There are tremors in the earth, sinister doppelgang­ers on the wards and – just possibly – something truly evil stalking the corridors.

With many of the original cast no longer with us, von Trier introduces a new array of obnoxious surgeons (most notably Mikael Persbrandt’s Helmer Jr) and more sympatheti­c nurses and orderlies. The lines between reality and fiction are blurred by the presence of Karen (Bodil Jørgensen), an elderly patient who watched the first two seasons of the show and now exists within its reality. While she confronts the darkness at the heart of the building, Helmer finds himself embroiled in various workplace scandals that operate on the level of increasing­ly surreal farce.

Trier’s work is sometimes characteri­sed by a certain try-hard edginess. What a delight then that Kingdom: Exodus – while far from mainstream – is (comparativ­ely speaking) kind of a crowd-pleaser. It’s bizarre, hilarious, genuinely creepy and fearsomely entertaini­ng.

Trier initially planned to return to the series after season two, but the deaths of several cast ended it prematurel­y.

Comparativ­ely speaking, it’s kind of a crowdpleas­er

 ?? ?? The only pic we can show from the SFX Christmas do.
The only pic we can show from the SFX Christmas do.

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