The King is a partial adaption of William Shakespeare’s “Henriad” (a collection of plays regarding Henry IV and Henry V) directed by David Michôd who co-wrote it with Joel Edgerton.
In England, Prince “Hal” Henry (Timothée Chalamet) is told by his father, the warmongering King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn) that his younger brother Thomas (Dean-Charles Chapman) will be taking the throne. The young Henry has no desire for the crown and spends his days drinking with his only friend John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton), but after his brother is killed in battle and his father dies, he is forced to take the throne. Though he desires peace, an assassin from France defects, telling him of a plot for murder. The Chief Justice William Gascoigne (Sean Harris) convinces him to go to war as retaliation. Recruiting John, he marches on France where he is met by the Dauphin, an arrogant Prince Lois (Robert Pattinson). The two princes prepare to go to battle, each having something to prove.
When I saw the trailer for this film, I honestly did not know what to expect. It seemed to be a drama based on the Middle Ages at a time when Europe was embroiled in constant wars. Henry V, though young and undisciplined, wanted peace. I say that knowing they took several creative licenses with both the Shakespearian tetralogy and history. With this in mind, I can confidently say Michôd and Edgerton wrote an excellent piece of historical fiction.
The aesthetics are impressive. The score by Nicholas Britell sets the mood for every scene with precision. Likewise, the cinematography by the Emmy Award-winning Adam Arkapaw showed us the beauty of nature prior to battle scenes and the destruction that comes after. There was no pretension in his shots, just good ol’ fashion sequences that show off the nature of the story.
Now, the movie is a slow burn and while that is not unusual for a Shakespearian tale, it did drag a bit much in certain sequences that lingered just a tad bit longer than was necessary.
I want to praise Chalamet and Pattinson’s performances. Chalamet portrays a troubled and weighted young King Henry V, likewise, Pattinson as an overconfident, arrogant prince is equally enthralling. They are two sides of the same coin. The Dauphin desires to be a king of France and has to flex his muscles to impress his father. Henry V, though he had no desire to be king, has to live in his shadow as he has to earn the respect of advisors who are eyeing his every move.
Bottom line: while slow at times, The King is an interesting look into the life of a boy who was forced to grow into the crown. With excellent performances and stunning backdrops, it is an impressive film even for a Netflix original.
FAVORITE QUOTE: That’s not the man you are.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language, Brutal grisly violence
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my Ten Comics Robert Pattison Needs To Read For Batman Prep and my Ten Questions Dragon Ball Super Left Unanswered. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.