Starring Lars Mikkelsen, Ride Upon the Storm is complex, intense, unique, and hooks you in from the opening scenes. It is a high concept Danish drama series created by Adam Price, who created the political series Borgen. Price also recently won the TV Drama Vision Prize at the Göteborg Film Festival, which is presented to television screenwriters. It’s not surprising that this series won, though, firstly because the other four television series in the competition were all crime, but also because it’s just such a damn good TV show.
Mikkelsen stars as Johannes Krogh, the patriarch of a family that has been serving the church in Denmark for well over two-hundred years. Now his two adult sons, August and Christian, are expected to follow in his footsteps and take over the family legacy. August is the shining light, a young and charismatic pastor who has high ambitions within the church and already seems to be outshining his father. Christian, meanwhile, dropped out of his theology course after being caught plagiarising and sets his eyes on his friend’s wife. Having a strong-willed, judgmental father takes its toll on the two sons and that pressure causes them to make extreme decisions.
This is a drama that isn’t driven by doubt, but faith. August becomes a priest with the Danish Army in the Middle East, and Christian ends up travelling to Nepal and getting involved in Buddhism, much to the displeasure of his father. Johannes, meanwhile, is trying to get elected to the bishop in Copenhagen, but upon finding out he hasn’t been chosen, it seems as though it’s the beginning of the end for a man who doesn’t live up to the high standards he places on others.
Lars Mikkelsen is just such a fantastic actor to watch. He can easily switch from looking welcoming to looking intense and callous, making Johannes such an uneasy and compelling figure. His life is a mess, and his jealousy and dislike of his sons begins to shine through. Johannes is more than just an angry dad, he’s a man who has given his life to an institution he doesn’t believe in and an institution that is just not accepting him.
Ride Upon the Storm is a must-see drama. Of all the television series I saw in Gothenburg, Ride Upon the Storm was the one I wanted to go home and binge. While the opening episode is a bit jumpy, it has to set up these three central characters. Throughout the second episode we see the story come into its own It’s slowly being released around the world, and the second season is due later this year.
This review is in the March issue of Cinema Scandinavia.
- Created by Adam Price
- Starring Lars Mikkelsen (The Killing), Morten Hee Andersen, Simon Sears (Follow the Money), Anna Eleonora Jørgensen (Italian for Beginners)