The King

The King

David Michôd (2019)

140min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Australian writer/director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) tackles a seminal moment in English history here, namely the regal transition from Henry IV to Prince Hal (later Henry V), rendered on celluloid via Shakespearean adaptations from the likes of Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles and Kenneth Branagh. It's quite a task, but Michôd shows respect for the language even without resorting to the Bard's prose, while co-scripter Joel Edgerton also features as a stout rather than blubbery Falstaff, whose relationship with the young prince is less freighted with sentiment than usual. Instead, Michôd is concerned with the mythical power of kingship, as Timothée Chalamet's fey wastrel Hal shapes up to the challenge when the crown becomes his and he's drawn into war with the French. Chalamet's pipe-cleaner physique doesn't convince in the combat highlights, but his performance certainly registers the troubled path to manhood. Everything leads to a muddy, bloody Agincourt which makes for a memorable set piece, and while the film has more to say, it's a tad fragmented, as if the ideas contained are disconnected from the action. Still, with much clanking of armour and suitably candle-lit interiors, there's a rough-hewn intensity which impresses - unlike Robert Pattinson's disastrous flouncing as the scheming French Dauphin.

Cast & Crew

"Hal", Prince Henry Timothée Chalamet
Dauphin Robert Pattinson
John Falstaff Joel Edgerton
Catherine Lily-Rose Melody Depp
Archbishop of Canterbury Andrew Havill
King Henry IV Ben Mendelsohn
William Sean Harris
Thomas of Lancaster Dean-Charles Chapman
Philippa Thomasin McKenzie
Henry Percy, "Hotspur" Tom Glynn-Carney
Hooper Tara FitzGerald
Director David Michôd
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Altitude Film DistributionGuidance: ViolenceReleased on: 11 Oct 2019