Of course, it looks like another TV phenomenon. Von Trier acknowledged that Kingdom was inspired by Twin Peaks, and one might wonder if Exodus would have existed without the creative success of Twin Peaks: Return in 2017. Much like David Lynch returning to the characters and twisted imagery from his iconic series, von Trier returns to some of the same characters and ideas, once again creating a truly inspirational blend of surrealism and comedy. The hospital in which all the scenes of the play take place is not only the scene of ancient supernatural forces that can rise up to finally drag him underground, but also a place of truly mundane idiocy, a building weighed down by bureaucracy and stupidity as much as it is. an evil that could be buried in its foundation.
What is the series “Kingdom” about? Well, this is where things get complicated. It’s kind of an exaggerated universe where a woman can give birth to Udo Kier wrapped in a uniform that sometimes resembles a traditional medical soap opera, but most of the doctors here are self-confident idiots. Exodus actually starts with a woman named Karen (Bodil Jorgensen) finishing up watching the first episode and going to the hospital to see for herself what’s going on. She finds more questions than answers, including the hospital’s real beating heart and Udo Kier’s giant head drowning in its own tears. Alexander Skarsgård takes on the role of his father in a very funny role as a lawyer whose office is in the toilet, while Willem Dafoe takes on the role of a human werewolf who may actually be Satan. It’s a lot. And it’s really just scratches on the surface.
Clearly, it’s very difficult to do the “plot synopsis” part of a review of something like Exodus from the Kingdom. While it technically has several competing storylines and dense mythology, the plot isn’t as important here as the mood. It’s a show that has cumulative power in its moments – whether it’s a weird little comedy bit like a chief doctor complaining that his computer solitaire game is too easy (not knowing IT difficulty is already set at 4-8 years) or the horrific image of an aggressively cruel doctor gouging out his own eye with a spoon (only to have him back to normal the next time we see him). Exodus Kingdom at times feels like its competing tones and subplots are at war with each other – the whiplash of the broad slapstick of a broken system with the more terrifying Lynchian elements of a woman exploring the hospital’s spiritual underground can be intense. – but it’s very intentional. Hospitals are places of extreme emotion where tragedy can exist in the next room with miraculous recovery. And von Trier often played with wide tonal shifts in black comedy throughout much of his filmography. The extremes of his tastes just find the perfect place at the Royal Hospital.