Following the intersecting fates of two families -- one rich, the other poor -- that welcome babies on the same day, fanciful Swedish tale "The Crown Jewels" is an exercise in fabulism that fails to burnish the reputations of Swedish helmer Ella Lemhagen ("Patrik, Age 1.5") and hot twentysomething stars Alicia Vikander and Bill Skarsgard.
Following the intersecting fates of two families — one rich, the other poor — that welcome babies on the same day, fanciful Swedish tale “The Crown Jewels” is an exercise in fabulism that fails to burnish the reputations of Swedish helmer Ella Lemhagen (“Patrik, Age 1.5”) and hot twentysomething stars Alicia Vikander and Bill Skarsgard. Awkwardly pieced together from a TV multiparter, the choc-a-bloc story, framed as a mystery, plays more like outline than essence, with character development, motivations and names of mysterious illnesses frustratingly lost on the cutting-room floor. Still, further fests may bite.
Weird, wealthy Richard (Skarsgard as a teen; Jonatan Bokman, Edvin Ryding in younger editions) tries to impress feisty Fragancia (Vikander as a teen; Louise Radon, Amanda Lunegren in younger versions), but she only has eyes for skating ace Pettersson-Jonsson (Bjorn Gustafsson), who glides off in a sexually surprising direction. When Fragancia’s Down Syndrome brother (Jesper Lindberger) drowns, she blames Richard. But does she shoot him? By now, who cares? Handsome production design haphazardly blends winsome anachronism with bare-bones contempo stylings, although here the fault might lie with the budget rather than the script.