KSL Movie Show Review: ‘The Promised Land’ is good storytelling with a side of Mads Mikkelsen

Feb 2, 2024, 12:00 PM

"The Promised Land" movie is packed with good storytelling and a fun main character....

SALT LAKE CITY — The fight over land rights has been going on since the beginning of civilization — and we see a sneak peek of that in this new “The Promised Land” movie.

Usually, he who claims the most land wins. The TV show “Yellowstone” is a prime example of how things can get carried away when one man owns so much land, that inevitably, someone else wants to take away.

And while “Yellowstone” is set in the modern day, “The Promised Land” takes place in 1755 Denmark, in a remote barren area called the Jutland moorland.  It’s a vast expanse of land that no one has been able to cultivate, but someone is about to try.

Here’s the storyline for the “The Promised Land” movie

Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen) has recently retired from the Danish Army after 25 years of service. He has a meager pension but great plans to establish a settlement in this unforgiving land, if only he can get permission from the Royal Danish Court. He asks for no upfront money, but if successful, he wants a title of nobility and a manor fitting a royal subject. 

Since no one has been able to grow anything out there, and since the Danish King would like nothing better than to see someone succeed, the Royal Treasury grants him access to the land, with a semi-hardy “good luck” pat on the back.  

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Only they have no idea how determined this Captain Kahlen is.  He knows he’s going to need help.  So he hires a couple of runaway servants, Johannes and Ann Barbara, who fled the nearby Hald Manor, owned and operated by the massive jerk face Frederik de Schinkel (Simon Bennebjerg) who will stop at nothing to prevent Kahlen from not only growing any crops but establishing a settlement, which would diminish his control locally.

It’s a gutsy move for Kahlen, but he has no choice. In the meantime, the good Captain will also have to deal with a band of local thieves roaming the area, specifically one young Romani traveler, Anmai Mus (Laura Bilgrau Eskild-Jensen) who steals his chickens and cusses like a sailor.  She’s a little rascal, but you can’t help but love her spunk and determination. 

Despite all odds and extreme weather conditions, Kahlen is making some progress, but every two steps forward are met with a step backward by — yep — Baron von Poopy Pants (de Schinkel) who let’s face it is a horrible human being.  Not only does he sexually assault his female staff, but his betrothed cousin (gross) Edel Helene wants absolutely nothing to do with him. Instead, she has eyes for the Captain, because he’s cool and it’s Mads Mikkelsen!

Let me just tell you, it’s going to get much uglier before it gets better and I’m not sure it gets better. So be prepared. 

But let’s just say Kahlen does manage to grow some stuff out there (relax, it’s potatoes) and this is where I started to shake my head, the royals are overjoyed at his success, but they do nothing to protect him from You-Know-Who. 

Steve’s take

I’ll stop there but know that some wins and some losses are coming their way, yet I felt the ending was a little rushed.  Which I guess is probably a good sign, when you’re left hoping for more. “The Promised Land” movie is good storytelling, plus it has Mads Mikkelsen, who you can probably guess by now is a favorite actor of mine. 

THE PROMISED LAND (B+) Rated R for bloody violence, language, some sexuality and brief nudity. Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, Simon Bennebjerg and Laura Bilgrau Eskild-Jensen. Co-written and directed by Nikolaj Arcel (“The Dark Tower” “A Royal Affair”) – filmed in Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic. This is Denmark’s entry in the 96th Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film. Running time: 127 minutes. 

Steve Salles is the co-host of the KSL Movie Show. Follow the show on Facebook. Join the KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500. 

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KSL Movie Show Review: ‘The Promised Land’ is good storytelling with a side of Mads Mikkelsen