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The Coronating

average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Mar 3, 2024

Film Reviews
The Coronating
Directed by:
Justin Solaiman, Hudson King
Written by:
Justin Solaiman
Onyx Simpson, Mari Kasuya, Ian Sawan

There’s something very Shakespearian about ‘The Coronating’, a film which is aesthetically beautiful, though underwhelms with a rather drab script consisting of far too much exposition. Justin Solaiman’s film wants to depict a microcosm of a story containing much grandeur as it’s own climactic short film, yet this, in all truths, means that the film feels like the extension of a scene from a much longer film, only the characters are forced to recap all the previous events of the preceding 90 minutes or so of the runtime.


‘The Coronating’ in fact barely depicts the Coronated, with the King, played briefly by Ian Sawan, instead focusing on a knight, played by Onyx Simpson, who is wrought with doubt and second thoughts in the moments leading up to the king’s coronation. Why the knight would have such doubts, and why those doubts should even matter to the audience, is because the king is her brother, and so the knight, who, like the king, remains unnamed throughout, is also a part of the royal line.


The knight is plagued by a demon, Daitya (played by Mari Kasuya), who casts doubt in her mind. A sorceress who appears with an air of mystique from a narrowing corridor, Daitya carries a seductive trait to her hissing and continued sibilance as she emphasises the S’s to try and influence and infiltrate the mind of the knight. Their relationship is interesting, with the suggestion that the two have previous, or perhaps that Daitya is a constant demon in the knight’s mind, as the knight refers to her as her ‘misery’.


There are echoes of Macbeth in Daitya, resembling the three witches who give Macbeth his prophecy and inspire his murder of the king and seizing of power in Scotland. Daitya seeks to inspire the knight to commit regicide, arguing that it is what is both just and owed to the knight. Shakespeare’s influence in ‘The Coronating’ runs deeper than this, however, with the idea of fratricide - the killing of one’s brother - reflecting the crime at the centre of Hamlet, a play in which the titular character also contemplates the consequences of breaking the divine right of kings, and whether or not he should take the throne.


The issue is that these are small, yet nonetheless significant, parts of much larger stories, and ‘The Coronating’ attempts to reflect those scenes but pack it with all the grandeur of the much longer plays, leading to a dialogue stuffed full of exposition, and one which, ultimately, is rather boring. This is, however, not to the fault of the two central actors - Onyx Simpson and Mari Kasuya - who have a strong chemistry together, and while Simpson wallows in the pits of her knight’s weight of doubt, Kasuya revels in the mystique and allure offered by her demon.


Whilst Justin Solaiman’s script may be overstuffed, his direction, alongside Hudson King, is splendid throughout, and, aided by incredible lighting, means that the film, though it may be fantasy, feels realistic throughout, and part of a much larger world. Each shot is meticulously framed, whilst high angle shots depict the knight’s doubt compared to that of the more powerful and confident demon, who often appears at the forefront of the shot.


Therefore, though its script may not work and the dialogue eventually becomes dull, ‘The Coronating’ is nonetheless a beautiful film - at least visually - and you sense that given the chance with a wider story, its filmmakers would excel.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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