Indie Gems: King of Devils Island

Bastøy Boys

Based on a true story, King of Devils Island is about a reform type institution for boys called Bastoy. It's on a secluded Island off the coast of Norway. The year is 1915 and Erling (Benjamin Helstad, the Norse Kyle Gallner) is sent to Bastoy instead of going to jail. Once he gets there, he's assigned the new moniker "C19." Bastøy is run by The Governor (Stellan Skarsgard) and Erling is put under the charge of a fellow boy, Olav (Trond Nilssen) aka C1 who is to show him the rules. They soon find out about some of the awful things the authority figures are doing here.

I've had this in my Netflix queue forever, and it was due to come off instant stream, so I quickly jumped on it. Now I'm wondering why I put it of for so long, it was brilliant. The film itself reminded me a lot of Doubt. It's bleak, gloomy, grey, there's little to no color and it fits the mood perfectly.

The acting is phenomenal. Of course Skarsgard is good and scary, he always is. But the real stars here are the boys, Helstad and Nilssen. Nilssen in particular was a stand out. He's so restrained early on and slowly begins to crack as he's forced to bring some harsh accusations to the Governor's attention. 

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "He has done everything right. And now he's going home." - Olav (Trond Nilssen)


  1. UGH, marvelous film! Nilssen is, without question, my Supporting Actor winner for 2011 and quite frankly, he ranked in my Top Five Supporting Actor Performances of All Time list I published a while back. He's just astounding here.

    Great write up.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad someone else saw this. I hope to see mroe of Nilssen in the future.

  2. I gotta see this. Though I doubt I can handle any more creepy kid flicks.

    1. The adults are the creepy ones in this, not the kids.

    2. Mario!!!! You need to see this. It is NOT a creepy kids flick, swear! It's incredible.

  3. I've heard nothing but good things about this movie. Guess I'll have to give it a go.

  4. YAY! Glad you finally watched this. I love this film! I give it nominations for Nilssen and for the cinematography.


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