The King: Film Review

I love Timothee Chalamet so I decided to check out The King even though the subject isn’t really my cup of tea, and while he is as amazing as ever, the film is long and largely quite dull.

In this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad set of plays, Chalamet plays the wayward Henry V, who is forced to ascend the throne when his father King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn) dies. He hopes to promote peace and doesn’t want to enter into unnecessary wars but he is forced to take action when King Charles VI of France sends an assassin to kill him.

Films featuring men talking about political strategies and the pros and cons of war doesn’t exactly thrill me but I found The King particularly challenging to get through because it was so damn long. Two hours and 20 minutes were unnecessary. There were some genuinely great moments but I largely found it lifeless and boring. It was also a bit too dark in places – I struggled to see what was going on – but besides that, the cinematography was beautiful, particularly in the Battle of Agincourt scenes.

Thankfully, the performances save the day. Chalamet is terrific as always and I was amazed by how good his British accent was. It was so convincing, I’m very impressed. Joel Edgerton provided solid support as Hal’s trusted friend Sir John Falstaff, as did Sean Harris and Mendelsohn. I was surprised to discover Lily-Rose Depp wasn’t in it much at all considering how much press she’s been doing but her small role as Henry’s betrothed Catherine is actually quite pivotal.

Now, onto the man everyone has been talking about – Robert Pattinson, who delivers a scene-stealing turn as the Dauphin. His French accent is ridiculously bad and his performance completely hammy, but I was grateful for his presence because it livened things up. It’s a baffling choice though. The comedy in his scenes feels like it’s ripped from a totally different film, it’s so at odds with the dry seriousness and Shakespearean speech of the main piece. It felt misjudged, but at the same time, it provided some much-needed comic relief so I can’t complain. He’s the only one who made me laugh! He doesn’t have a lot of screen time but he sure makes an impact.

Taking The King as a whole, it is simply fine. But if you’re a fan of either Chalamet and Pattinson then you must check this out.

Streaming on Netflix now 

Rating: 3/5

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