The Kingdom Exodus movie review (2022)

Of course, it IS like another TV phenomenon. Von Trier admitted that “The Kingdom” was inspired by “Twin Peaks,” and one has to wonder if “Exodus” would exist without the creative success of “Twin Peaks: The Return” in 2017. In much the same way as David Lynch revisited characters and quirky imagery from his seminal series, Von Trier returns to some of the same characters and ideas, once again creating a truly inspired blend of the surreal and the comic. The hospital where every scene of the show takes place is not only a place of ancient supernatural forces that may rise up to finally drag it into the ground, but it is also a place of real-world idiocy, a building burdened of bureaucracy and stupidity as much as it is the evil that could be buried in its foundations.

What is “The Kingdom” about? Well, that’s where things get difficult. It’s the kind of exaggerated universe in which a woman can give birth Udo Kier wrapped in a mold that sometimes resembles a traditional medical soap opera, but most of the doctors here are self-obsessed idiots. “Exodus” actually opens with a woman named Karen (Bodil Jørgensen) finishes a viewing of the first series and goes to the hospital to see for himself what is going on there. She finds more questions than answers, including an actual beating heart in the hospital and Udo Kier’s giant head drowning in its own tears. Alexander Skarsgård takes over for his father in a very funny twist as a lawyer whose office is in the toilet and Willem Dafoe appears as a shape-shifting man who may actually be Satan. That’s a lot. And that’s really just scratching the surface.

Obviously, it’s really quite difficult to do the “plot synopsis” part of a review of something like “The Kingdom Exodus.” While it technically has several competing subplots and a dense mythology, plot doesn’t matter as much as mood here. It’s a show that has a cumulative power in its moments – whether it’s a weird little comic beat like the head doctor complaining that his computer solitaire is too easy (not knowing that IT already has its difficulty set to 4 -8 years old) or the terrifying image of an aggressively violent doctor gouging out his own eye with a spoon (only for it to be normal again the next time we see it). “The Kingdom Exodus” feels at times as if its competing tones and subplots are at war with each other — the whiplash of the broad farce of a broken system with the more frighteningly Lynchian elements of a woman exploring the hospital’s spiritual underbelly can be intense – but it is very deliberate. Hospitals are places of extreme emotion, where tragedy can exist in the next room to miraculous recovery. And Von Trier has often played with wide tonal shifts with dark comedy throughout much of his filmography. The extremes of his tastes just find a perfect setting at Kingdom Hospital.

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