Kingdom II, The

Director: Lars Von Trier

Denmark-Italy-Sweden-Norway-France| 1997. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 286 minutes.

Supernatural occurrences continue to plague the staff of the Kingdom Hospital in this follow-up to the hit TV series. As in the previous part, the woolly-minded consultants are too absorbed in selfish intrigues to pay much heed to the pandemonium breaking out. There’s no illusion of getting to know these crabbed eccentrics any better the second time around. Co-directors von Trier and Morten Arnfred, together with co-writer Niels Vørsel, simply build on our familiarity with them and allow them to behave more like themselves than ever. Once again, the star monomaniac is that formidably dew-lapped Swedish bulldog, Dr Stig Helmer. Ernst-Hugo Jaregard is peerless in the part, whether soliloquising over a toilet bowl or enthusing about how a child whom the surgeon’s negligence has made a drooling vegetable lights up the ward with her ‘energy and vivacity.’ For all his metaphysical ambitions, von Trier is enough of a secular entertainer to realise when he’s hit pay dirt-without resistance or protest, he permits this cuddly crook to walk off with the show.-.

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