‘The King’ is directed by David Michôd and stars Timothée Chalamet as King Henry V. This film is about the rise of King Henry the V (which, if you have little or no clue who that King is, where he falls in line with the royal family etc, here’s a nifty chart!)
(Or, just watch the movie or watch a YouTube video)
Hal, wayward prince (Henry V) is a young tall leader who fought alongside his armies and led many battles. This story covers what happens when Hal is thrust into the position of King. He is dealing with a never-ending conflict with the French King that began with his father and is trying to lead in a better way than his father. It’s a chapter of England’s history that I wasn’t familiar with, during an era full of knights, jousting, and though it comes to us as a Netflix original film I found myself having a decent time with it!
First, the performance from Timothée Chalamet is hands down the shining point of the film. I think he’s got a very long future ahead of him in Hollywood and his subtle and nuanced performance as King Henry V just proves my point. Chalamet can act amongst the best of them, his co-stars ranging from Joel Edgerton as his trusty servant, the always menacing Ben Mendelson as Henry the IV was very impressive as well. Robert Pattinson plays the french prince and while not really having a lot of screentime still was able to chew up every scene he was in. Again I admire his accent work in this film, completely transforming his voice and being very believable as a Frenchman.
The lighting was very done in this keeping with the olden times esthetic. I loved the cinematography done by Adam Arkapaw who had also worked on the previous season of HBO’s ‘True Detective’. The fight sequences and big battle sequences also were shot in a wide perspective and never felt too shaky or handheld like a lot of other action sequences are shot as. I love seeing knights fighting with the old metal armor and chainmail so I’m an easy sell for that.
The main issue comes from the pacing ‘The King’ has. It starts and ends on more engaging notes than what you get for most of the film. There was a lot in some of the b stories that could be shortened down and more moments in between the quiet moments could have helped to keep me engaged. This might be from it being ready to view from home where there is always more distraction than being able to see films like this in the theaters, and that is a problem I still have with streaming sites premiering big features on small screens. You lose a lot of the epid scale the director is going for if you are in an immersive experience like the theater to show the director’s vision.
This doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I had watching this. It’s a little slow in the 2nd act but overall a very impressive performance from Chalamet and a story that after I finished watching went online to learn more about, and If a biographical film can interest you more after the movie I think that says it’s done its job well.
I’m giving ‘The King’ a 7.5/10