THE KINGDOM: EXODUS
Lars von Trier’s Darkplace
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