Directed by: #DavidMichôd
Australian filmmaker David Michod returns with a Netflix-size budgeted Shakespearean epic, replacing historical accuracy with lengthy monologues and tactile bloodthirsty battles.
Michod and co-writer Joel Edgerton dress The King as a coming-of-age tale as old as time, centralising party boy Prince Hal as he reluctantly takes up the throne.
Based on characters from Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 as well as Henry V, The King follows a dishevelled bad boy prince Timothee Chalamet as he finds himself on the throne after the deaths of his brother and his father, Henry IV. His attempts at maintaining a pacifist approach are dashed once he is taunted and provoked by the Dauphin of France, portrayed by Robert Pattinson with luscious locks not dissimilar to those of Shrek's Prince Charming.
The Pattison post-Twilight era has never been so captivating, with carefully chosen projects such as The Lighthouse, demonstrating his versatile nature. Pattison's appearance as Dauphin can only either be considered an impressive interpretation of performance art or an intentional trolling of the French accent spattered with strained hesitancy.
"I enjoy to speak English. it is simple and ugly."
In the original story, Hal embraces his fate as King of England to save a fractured Britain, bringing peace to the kingdom. He discards father figure Falstaff, before becoming the nation's warrior monarch. In this adaptation, Hal maintains a relationship with Falstaff, portrayed by Joel Edgerton, employing him as a trusted adviser on the battlefield. Falstaff's original cynic dialogue about honour and the senselessness of war is scrapped, traded in for warfare qualms and advocacy against the brutal execution of war prisoners. Throughout the film, there is an emphasis on the presence of one-on-one fights between royalty, a narrative which has since been rebuked as historically inaccurate and sensationalised. It should be noted that The King makes an ambitious but admirable effort to avoid the romanticisation of battle scenes, instead depicting the raw gruesomeness and recklessness of warfare.
Audiences will grimace at the bloody carnage, as the typical glamorised action shots are nowhere to be seen.
Scenes melt into each other, making for poor pacing within significant portions of the film. Although, Netflix never seems to leave audiences disappointed with the cinematography of their productions, something that can also be said for The King. Despite the sombre styling and disregard for historical accuracy, The King is worth a watch, even just for Robert Pattinson's attempt at a French accent.