Title: The King.
Director: David Michod.
Genre: Historical, Drama, Violence.
Main Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn.
Runtime: 140 mins
MDb rating: 7.2/10.
My rating: 7/10.
Quick summary: Prince Hal does not want anything to do with his royal duties, but when his father and brother meet their doom, he is forced to take his place on the throne. Once there, it is hard to distinguish between friend and foe. As battle with France looms, Hal, now Henry V, doesn’t know who to trust and the power he once feared looks set to consume him.
I must give you all a word of warning before I talk about the movie. It is a Shakespeare adaptation of his Henry plays. It is also over two hours long. However, if you like Medieval movies with a bit of sword-fighting, ale-drinking and political pageantry, this movie is for you. If you don’t like these things, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you at the next review!
Shakespeare’s plays built around King Henry IV and V are brought to life in this movie. Timothée Chalamet plays Hal, the future King Henry V. He is forced into making war with France after a failed assassination attempt and a number of personal jibes. Along the way he is aided by his friend, Falstaff, a drunken ex-soldier and somewhat of a personal bodyguard to Hal. Joel Edgerton plays the fictional Falstaff who is apparently based on a family friend to the monarch at the time. Shakespeare did not want to name every single character for fear his take on that character would earn him a place in the Tower of London.
Robert Pattinson is fantastic as the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin was the heir to the French throne, a term used for hundred of years through the Middle Ages and on through the Renaissance. Thank God for Wikipedia!
The final battle and culmination of the trickery, mindgames and backstabbery that was evident in the English court in Shakespeare’s plays, is cinematic excellence. It may be somewhat derivative of The Battle of the Bastards in season 6 of Game of Thrones. Falstaff has to claw and grasp his way to fresh air as he is almost trampled to death by the melee that has ensued as a result of fighting in heavy mud and armour. It reminded me instantly of Jon Snow’s near death in a very similar ruck. However, this film takes place during the Hundred Years War between England and France. George R. R. Martin’s legendary book and television series is based on the very same war. While it seems that the T.V. battle was based on the Second Punic War and the famous Carthaginian victory over the Roman army at Cannae, it was originally based on the Battle of Agincourt.
I have two minor problems with this film. The biggest problem, and more relevant to everyday life, is that there are literally only three female characters with more than one line throughout the film. I appreciate that it is based on plays written hundreds of years ago in a male-dominated society, but Joel Edgerton and David Michod could have written in some strong female characters. The only sound advice that Hal receives from anyone bar Falstaff is his sister (Thomasin McKenzie) and his wife Catherine (Lily-Rose Depp) at the end of the movie. Yet both characters have about five lines each. It is a very male cast.
My second gripe, and thankfully a more light-hearted one, is that there is a lot of cursing in this movie. I know what you’re thinking. I curse in all my podcasts and most of my written pieces. However, I’m not writing a screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays. Throwing a random ‘fuck’ in amongst the pretty words the bard provided just took me out of the film for brief moments.
I talk about this film on my podcast from last week. Every week I review one or two different films while trying to keep it light-hearted and poke innocent fun. You can listen on Spotify, Apple, or the Podcast player below!
Last week I reviewed this movie and Operation Odessa, which I wrote about yesterday. Enjoy the podcast and thanks for liking and reading my reviews. Stay safe, guys.