05th Nov2019

‘The King’ Review (Netflix)

by Alex Ginnelly

Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Gábor Czap, Tom Fisher, Edward Ashley, Steven Elder, Ivan Kaye, Tom Lawrence | Written by Joel Edgerton, David Michôd | Directed by David Michôd

king-poster

Both epic in scale and intimate in design, The King shows the struggle of a young king – who is fully embodied by Timothée Chalamet, who yet again proves he’s the best young talent Hollywood has to offer.

The brooding slow burn that is The King sets a pace from the very beginning that shows us this isn’t your typical historical epic. Instead of this being another action packed medieval tale, The King takes a slower, deeper look at the life and hardships of a king. It also takes a hard deep look at the reality of war and the cost of peace.

The film tells the tale of King Henry V, when he is crowned king and takes up the long war between England and France. It’s the hardship within the character that becomes so clear this isn’t a man who loves war, but who only wishes for peace. Timothée Chalamet masterfully embodies a king torn between who to trust and where to turn, not only this, but also the power he commands as a king for the people, showcased beautifully in an epic speech. It’s Chalamet’s performance that is at the centre of this movie and drives the film home even more powerfully than it could of hoped for.

The history of the story is something that would always grab my attention, a story I’ve come to fall in love with as a passionate historian of English kings, the story was always likely to suck me in. It’s the pace and unique story telling to this period that stuck with me more and gave a refreshing taste to this kind of picture. Granted, this film will not be for everyone, it takes on a slow burn approach that is driven home by the editing style of Peter Sciberras. Sciberras’ editing and slow-nature approach will no doubt be too slow for some audience members to take, and may be the films biggest criticism by those same people.

The film, however, cannot be criticised for it’s technical achievements, the direction, cinematography and score are some of the best this year. The camera moves freely between the spaces, pushing close when it needs to and, with the cinematography of a true artist, it looks better than ever. Adam Arkapaw is proving again and again that he’s one of the best cinematographers working today and dishes out one of the best looking films to date. As mentioned, Nicholas Britell’s hauntingly powerful score matches the themes and performances, it sets the scene for every walk, every speech and every battle.

Alongside Timothée Chalamet are a number of stand out performances in The King, such as Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris. Robert Pattinson also shows up as the young French prince and begins to chew up the scenery around him, stealing each moment he’s in.

All the technical achievements, the performance and the slow burn draw you into this epic tale of Henry V. It’s one that may get overlooked by the masses, but when you take the time to take a closer look, there’s a beautiful, heartbreaking and true story to be told. It’s the kind of epic we don’t get to see anymore as it takes a closer look at its characters and not the world around them.

**** 4/5

The King is on Netflix now.

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