A Royal Affair: DVD Review
Released by Madman Home Entertainment
Mads Mikkelsen continues his rise to cinematic glory in this sumptuous period piece set in Denmark in 1766.
It's a turbulent time in Denmark, with the masses oppressed and downtrodden by a King who's mad and politically ineffectual, there's scant hope for those who pursue the ideals of the Enlightenment movement.
But when new Queen Caroline Mathilde (an entrancing Vikander) comes to join her husband from England, Mikkelsen's recently appointed royal physician Johann Struensee starts to fall in love with her.
Their dangerous liaison leads to love and the chance for Denmark to change as Struensee begins to exert his Enlightenment beliefs both on the Queen and on a willing King.
However, not everything in this love story ends happily as the consequences of Struensee's actions begin to play out.
A Royal Affair is a slightly over-long look at dramatic events in Denmark which shaped a nation and played a part in the formation of European history.
Gorgeously costumed and stunningly shot, it's an intelligent period piece which screams lounge back in your seat and wallow away but it does take a little while to get going and become engrossing. Mikkelsen and Vikander are perfectly cast as the physician and the royal who're engulfed in the passion of the romance and the burning desire for change for their oppressed nation. Folsgaard is also solid as the mad King who flounces around whoring and being weak and ineffectual (even if he does remind you a little of Hugh Laurie's King from Blackadder).
The drama is powerful in this piece and while it may take a while to grip you as the slow burn kicks in, be aware that the (somewhat abrupt) ending may resonate more with you than you first realise.
Overall, A Royal Affair is a strong piece of historical film making; it offers light into a period many will be unaware of and thanks to strong acting, it's a striking celluloid outing for one of Denmark's most difficult periods.
Extras: Interviews with stars, gallery, family tree, theatrical trailer