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A Royal Affair(2012)
A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with his physician - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever.
For more about A Royal Affair and the A Royal Affair Blu-ray release, see A Royal Affair Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 7, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Alicia Vikander
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
» See full cast & crew
A Royal Affair Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 7, 2012
Winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay Awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Danish director Nikolaj Arcel's "En kongelig affære" a.k.a "A Royal Affair" (2012) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Metrodome Video. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film and video interviews with actors Mads Mikkelsen, Alicia Vikander, and director Nikolaj Arcel. In Danish, with imposed English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
The key events chronicled in Danish director Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair are real. Some of the discussions and negotiations that take place during the second half of the film were reconstructed as best as possible – and the creators of the film admit that for some they offered their personal interpretation because detailed documents describing them do not exist –but no attempts were made to embellish them for dramatic effect.
The film begins in early 1770s. English princess Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) arrives in Denmark to marry King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) and immediately discovers that her life will change dramatically - but not for the better. Before she is even shown the Royal Palace, Caroline is informed that the majority of her books have been confiscated. Then, after she spends some time with Christian, Caroline is shocked to discover that he suffers from some sort of a mental illness.
In the days that follow, Christian almost completely loses touch with reality. When doctors visit him, he proudly admits that he can't stop masturbating while thinking about big-breasted prostitutes. This, however, is exactly the type of King the members of the reactionary Council want, which is why they and everyone they control insist that Christian is just fine.
Meanwhile, Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen, After the Wedding, Flame and Citron), a German doctor and supporter of the Enlightenment, is encouraged by a few of his best friends to go to the Royal Palace and become Christian's personal physician. At first Struensee dismisses the idea, but later on, after he realizes that the position could allow him to promote the ideas and principles of the Enlightenment, he agrees. Much to his surprise, Christian immediately embraces him and the two begin spending time together.
The already pregnant Caroline, also a supporter of the Enlightenment, becomes fascinated with Struensee. While Christian spends time in the best brothels in Denmark, Caroline and Struensee secretly meet. Convinced that Struensee is the only man that truly understands him, Christian soon begins changing existing laws and introducing new, more liberal ones. Denmark slowly opens up to the rest of Europe and eventually the great Voltaire sends a secret letter to the Caroline to express his approval. But Caroline and Struensee make a crucial mistake that throws Denmark back to the dark ages.
The only information one needs to be aware of in order to enjoy this outstanding Danish film is that in the early 1770s Denmark was a very conservative country whose leaders were convinced that the Enlightenment was as dangerous as the Black Death. This fact, however, is made perfectly clear as soon as Caroline arrives in the Royal Palace and her books are confiscated.
The film is essentially about two very different affairs. The first is the mighty relationship between the foreigner Struensee and Christian which will eventually change Denmark. It really is an extraordinary story because a lot was at stake and because a lot was accomplished under some absolutely bizarre conditions.
The second affair is even more fascinating. Considering the fact that Caroline and Struensee were lovers for such a long time and no one really did anything to expose them is incredible. The fact that they had a daughter, Princess Louise Augusta, is simply astonishing.
Ultimately, A Royal Affair truly feels like the Danish answer to Patrice Chéreau's La reine Margot. It is shot with a tremendous emphasis on detail, great respect for the events it chronicles, and in a way that basically inspires one to learn more about Danish history.
Mikkelsen, arguably the best Danish actor at the moment, is simply superb as Struensee. The camera loves his face. Vikander, a beautiful young Swedish actress, is also very convincing as the brittle Caroline.
A Royal Affair is also complimented by a beautiful soundtrack by the great Gabriel Yared (Betty Blue, The English Patient), and Cyrille Aufort (Splice, Samsara).
A Royal Affair Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Metrodome Video.
Aside from some extremely light compression artifacts which I noticed during the final third of the film (shortly before Struensee is arrested), the presentation is indeed very strong. Detail is outstanding from start to finish, clarity excellent, and depth during the panoramic shots quite impressive (see screencapture #3). Color reproduction is excellent, with the daylight sequences looking particularly strong. There are plenty of very natural greens, blues, grays, browns, and blacks. There are no traces of problematic lab tinkering. Purely transfer specific anomalies, such as banding and aliasing, are also nowhere to be seen. There are no serious stability issues. Compression is also also good. All in all, this very recent Danish film does look quite beautiful on Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
A Royal Affair Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Danish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (with small portions of English). For record, Metrodome Video have provided imposed English subtitles for the main feature (they cannot be turned off), which appear inside the image frame.
The lossless track is likely to impress viewers who like nuanced dynamics. The sound is incredibly crisp, depth is excellent, and dynamic movement very effective. There are some rather simple sequences in the film where fluidity is really outstanding. The dialog is always crisp, stable, and easy to follow.
A Royal Affair Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this release are perfectly playable on Region-A players, including the PS3.
A Royal Affair Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I loved Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair. It is a beautiful film that tells a fascinating story without even a whiff of melodrama. And what a performance by Mads Mikkelsen. Bravo. I cannot wait to see The Hunt now. Consider adding A Royal Affair to your collections, folks. I guarantee you will like it a lot. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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A Royal Affair Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Danish Oscar Entry 'A Royal Affair' Get U.S. Release Date - December 22, 2012
Magnolia Pictures has revealed that it is planning to bring to Blu-ray Danish director Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair (2012), starring Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard. The preliminary release date set by the studio is March 26th.
• Denmark, Switzerland and Brazil Also Announce Oscar Entries - September 21, 2012
Denmark, Switzerland and Brazil have also announced the films that will represent them at the Oscars. Denmark has selected Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair. Switzerland will be represented by Ursula Meier's Sister, while Brazil will try to win an Academy Award with ...
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