With the joint Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Irish coproduction Kongens Nei, Erik Pop recounts Norwegian history from this exact perspective, and in a monumental manner. King Haakon VII is brought to life for 8 million euros.
In 1905, the Norwegian people voted to leave the union with Sweden after 91 years, and made Haakon VII their king. Some years later, Hitler gave everything to destroy the democratic approach to the constitutional monarchy. He attempted to force the king to conclude Norway's surrender without the involvement of parliament.
The royal family was also on the run, and helplessly subjected to the hail of bombs raining down from the Nazis. But King Hakan refused to betray Norway. He took on the heavy burden of responsibility for the subsequent Nazi massacre and became a role model for his son.
For the first 45 minutes, the film keeps me at a distance, even though the two-hour epic manages to avoid showing a single corpse. Kongens Nei awakens in me a longing for a father figure like Haakon VII, who Jesper Christensen brilliantly portrays. But alongside the hundreds of big and small male roles − heroes, politicians, soldiers and commanders − there are just two wives, two daughters and a secretary. I consider this a falsification of history, which furthermore has been promoted by public resources.
This portrayal once again shows the classical historical narrative from a male military viewpoint – this much national pride is a little alarming, even in Norwegians.