Home' Nova National : NOVA JULY 12 Contents FILMS by Mary O'Donovan
© NOVA JULY 2012
★★★★★ so good ★★★★ really good ★★★ pretty good ★★ not so good ★ no good
A ROYAL AFFAIR ★★★
MOST AUSTRALIANS WOULD not have
given a second thought to Denmark until
'our Mary' married into the Danish royal
family. Now that we have a connection
with this small country, it seems appro-
priate that we get ourselves up to speed on
the history of its royal family.
A Royal Affair follows the 18th century
trials and tribulations of Caroline Mathilde
(Alice Vikander), the unlucky English
princess chosen to marry her cousin,
King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel
Folsgaard). Christian is just a tiny bit loopy.
Either that or he is so bored by royal life
that rather than knuckle down, like the
current Queen of England, he rebels
against his life by acting out.
Either way, the result is the same
for Caroline, a spirited young woman
who, after delivering the requisite two
offspring, refuses to have anything more
to do with the King. He is unperturbed
by her behaviour and, keen to taste the
joys of Europe, he sets off on a grand tour
to engage in all the debauchery he can
imagine. While he travels, it becomes clear
that he requires a physician to keep some
of his more excessive behaviour in check.
So while he takes a break in Germany,
Dr Johan Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) is
engaged to keep King Christian under his
care. Struensee is a progressive doctor
and he is keen to divert the King and to
learn the ways of the court.
The Queen resents Struensee and his
hold over the King, but once she flicks
through the doctor 's bookcase and finds
that he has similar tastes to herself, she
is intrigued. As their friendship develops
and they swap ideas about the value of
the Enlightenment, it becomes clear to
others at court, even if not to themselves,
that there is a romance developing.
Struensee, although not portrayed as
a man greedy for power, soon discovers
his ability to influence the affairs of states
and, given his radical political ideas, he
cannot resist using his influence with the
unbalanced king to implement them.
Caroline and Struensee persuade
the king and in the process create
enemies at court. Their affair becomes
the talk of the town, and their positions
compromised until even the King can't
ignore the innuendo. Caroline is protected
by the Crown, but Struensee has no
such protection and as a foreigner he is
Alice Vikander as Queen Caroline
is a major talent. At only 24, she is well
able to emanate strength and in the
next moment the fragility of youth and
inexperience. Folsgaard playing the mad
king seems to have taken a leaf out of
Tom Hulce's performance in Amadeus
and he works a hyena-style laugh to potent
effect. Folsgaard won a Silver Bear at the
Berlin Film Festival for his performance.
Mads Mikkelsen (most notably seen
as La Chiffre in the Bond movie Casino
Royal) as the influential Dr Struensee
is as easy on the eye as ever, and his
performance, which could so easily
overwhelm those of his much younger
co-stars, instead complements them with
It turns out that Dr Struensee and
Queen Caroline were ahead of their time,
and their ideas were finally implemented
during the 55 year reign of Queen
Caroline's son, Frederick VI. So by the
end of A Royal Affair we all know a little
bit more about the Danish royal family and
it's good to know that 'our Mary' has
married a guy with the same name as the
reforming king of yesteryear.
NOW AVAILABLE on the
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MUSIC Reviewed by Phil Bennett
TO THE LOST
Named after a combination of Prince
Buster (Jamaican recording pioneer),
mento (Jamaican folk music style which
predates both ska and reggae), Alexander
Bustamente (Jamaica's first prime min-
ister), and a bustament (Maltese for
"a very big boat"), Nicky Bomba's new
band swings and rolls like a bustament
on a king tide.
Combining original compositions with
lively interpretations of numbers from the
likes of Harry Belafonte and Peggy Lee,
their debut album is a joyful journey to
a musical tropical paradise.
Occasionally frantic and always celeb-
ratory, the album paddles in some
bouncy musical waters as calypso, mento
and reggae rhythms ripple through the
Boasting an effortless dexterity,
Bomba's outfit steer their way around
these tunes as if Jamaican riddims are
what power their heartbeats.
They play with humour and light
hearted elegance as they emulate the
sound of a place long ago and far away.
Top marks also go to the packaging of
this album -- a beautifully illustrated hard
cover book designed in the style of a 50s
Adventures For Boys publication.
Think balmy breezes, cocktail um-
brellas and endless stretches of turquoise
water. And coconuts.
If there was ever a spokesman for the
trombone as an instrument of choice,
then Troy Andrews aka Trombone Shorty
would appear to be the most suitable
man on the planet.
This silver-lipped genius escalates
the instrument to a level of cool that's
He plays it like Stanley Clarke plays
his bass or Jeff Beck plays his guitar --
full of sass, style and sheer class.
Not only that, but he manages to
produce an endless series of spectacular
sounds from the trumpet, organ, drums,
piano, various keyboards, and percussion.
Oh yes, and he sings as well.
And writes or co-writes all the songs.
The grooves on this album are white
hot and the ensemble playing, an exciting
blend of uncanny precision and human
looseness, is simply first rate.
And there's a deliciously diverse array
of stylistic input, with dollops of New
Orleans swagger mixing it with New York
jazz and Philadelphia funk.
An excellent album on all fronts.
Recorded in just a couple of days, Pete
Cullen's debut album is an absolute
With minimal overdubs and maximum
energy, it's a hark back to the days when
a band would roll up to the studio, set up
the gear, count to four and see you at the
There's plenty of aggressive guitar
led rock (Howlin' Wolf, Keep Walking)
but there's also a fine spray of sunny
melodies, such as on the evocative title
track and the simple, poignant Coffee
Cullen himself is a guitarist of
considerable ability, whether it be bend-
ing the electric or lightly strumming an
acoustic, while his sometimes gentle,
sometimes gruff voice casts a lovely deep,
dark country veil over proceedings.
Ably backed by the sterling Rockwiz
house band, the results are top quality
without being too slick.
Good songs, good singing and good
A stirring debut.
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