The Danish drama “The Promised Land takes its old-fashioned remit with enjoyable seriousness. Set in the mid-18th century, it is a classic tale of haves and have-nots filled with gristle and grit, limitless horizons, scenes of suffering, reversals of fortune and cathartic recognition. It has sweep, romance, violence and spectacle, but what makes it finally work as well as it does is that it largely avoids the ennobling clichés that turn characters into ideals and movies into exercises in spurious nostalgia — well, that and Mads Mikkelsen. [..] With Mikkelsen as the story’s anchor, “The Promised Land” builds steadily and gracefully, drawing you in with drama and a welcome old-school commitment to rounded characters, moral clarity and emotionally satisfying storytelling.

Manohla Dargis, New York Times